The elite of Moroccan reformists (ulema) at the beginning of the 20th century produced a corpus of political texts which expressed new aspirations to reorganize power, and which tried to renew the rules of governance on the inspiration of some successful constitutional experiences in Europe, while also stressing concepts from the Islamic political tradition. The ulema played diverse roles within Moroccan society and were able to form a social "class" of notables in the cities where they lived, whether by virtue of the positions and administrative ranks they held, or as personalities with major influence in forming public opinion and trusted by a broad section of people. The challenge of political reform was raised at the end of the 19th century with the spread of awareness among the elite that the obtaining of a constitution would guarantee freedom, contribute to the protection of independence and build a state on modern foundations to combat tyranny and absolute rule. The first constitutionalist efforts started from a reformist perspective that tried to find a practical legal formula to organize the system of government and allow the representatives of the people to actually participate in managing the country's affairs by setting up constitutional institutions able to confront foreign threats to the country. Although the culture of this enlightened elite at that time (the ulema) was in essence a Sharia-religious culture, it was one that was open to other cultures. The ulema interacted positively with the reform movement in Islamic countries in the Arab East, leaving a deep imprint on their constitutionalist culture.