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The stream of political and social thought of a small number of Arab thinkers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which led to the genesis of Arabism is an important but neglected subject of study* This essay attempts an interpretive synthesis of the information and ideas on that topic contained in various distinguished works. The ideas of this Arab literate elite in urging a revival of social values and institutions were formulated primarily in reaction to the impact of the West. The Arabs under consideration were predominantly Syrian and Lebanese, who provided the most active intellectual and political ferment in behalf of Arabism. Egypt is not part of our discussion since it did not partake of the Arab movement during the period covered by this essay.