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The Decline and Fall of the Qing Dynasty
Transcript of The Decline and Fall of the Qing Dynasty
of the Qing Dynasty:
In 1800 the Qing dynasty of the Manchus was at
the height of its power.
After more than a century of Western humiliation and harassment, the Qing dynasty collapsed in the early 1900s.
Internal changes played a major role in the downfall of the Qing dynasty, including: corruption, peasant unrest, ruler incompetence, and population growth which led to food shortages and regular famine. The Qing Dynasty in China However despite all of these internal issues, external pressures sped up the eventual downfall of the Qing society.
The Opium Wars, The Tai Ping Rebellion, and The Boxer Rebellion all occurred as a result of foreign influence that was weakening the Qing hold over the Chinese region.
After the Boxer Rebellion, the Qing dynasty in China desperately tried to reform itself to please both the Chinese people and the foreign invaders.
Empress Dowager Ci Xi worked hard to place in new reforms including; a new educational system, new legislative governments at a local level, and national elections for a new national assembly. At first the new elites were excited about the changes made by the Empress, yet eventually they realized that the new elected officials had no law-making powers.
Additionally the middle and working class Chinese gained nothing by the new reforms leading to continued unrest in society Fall of the Qing Dynasty The first signs of revolution emerged in the 1890s when Sun Yat-sen formed the Revive China Society.
Sun Yat-sen believed that the Qing dynasty was a government beyond repair and needed to be replaced; he worried that if the Chinese remained under the Qing that they would be at risk of being overthrown by foreign powers. Sun Yat-sen Empress Dowager Ci XI Sun knew that the Chinese were not ready for a purely democratic government, so he devised a 3-stage program of reforms to be put in place once they ousted the Qing from power.
The 3 Stages were:
1. Military Takeover.
2. Transitional phase to prepare for democracy.
3. Formation of a constitutional democracy. 1905 Convention In 1905 Sun called a convention in Tokyo to outline ideas to unite the radical groups of China in order to overthrow the Qing once and for all.
At the convention these groups formed the Revolutionary Alliance- which would come to be known the Nationalist Party of China. The nationalist party adopted Sun's Three People's Principles.
Although the party was small they benefited from rising discontent as the Qing failed to improve conditions in China. Revolution of 1911 Three years after the convention, in 1908, Empress Ci Xi died.
Her heir, her nephew Guang Xu was supposed to attain power died 1 day before his Aunt leaving the Qing with one remaining heir.
The new heir to the throne was an infant, Henry Pu Yi- who would occupy the throne as the "Last Emperor" of China. Henry Pu Yi Knowing the lack of experience in the Imperial Palace Sun Yat-sen began to organize to overthrow the Qing.
In October 1911 he recruited military general Yuan Shigai.
General Yuan was once in charge of the military when they were sent to suppress Sun's earlier rebellions; however, over time he agreed to dismiss the government and serve the people instead. By the end of 1911, the Qing had been overthrown with little event.
However, there was still much work to be done.
Despite carrying out a revolution- Sun failed to organize a government in the new China.
Moreover, the majority of the population which was poor and weak did not support Sun's ideas and efforts-- leaving uncertainty for the new nation. An Era of Civil War The new China was headed by now President Yuan Shigai.
As both President and General Yuan controlled a military government- which led many people to distrust his motives.
Even his closest allies did not believe that he was the best individual to govern the Chinese population. The greatest fear the Chinese people had was the danger of Western powers to the fledgling Chinese government.
Yuan was ruling in a traditional manner that many people did not like-- instead they preferred many of the ideas being spread by the foreigners present or they preferred the traditional rule of the Qing.
Yuan's dictatorial rule became so unpopular that it caused a split within his own Nationalist party.
Soon after the split the opposing Nationalists launched a rebellion against Yuan's government- only to be quickly defeated.
Nonetheless the stress of his time in power led to his death in 1916, leaving one of his officers to rule.
Still Chinese national government continued to struggle and China entered into years of Civil War causing massive destruction across China Chinese Transition and Culture The influence of the West was intense on the Chinese culture throughout the 1800s.
Most importantly they influenced the Chinese economy by:
1. introducing modern communication and transportation
2. creating an export market
3. integrating China into the world economy Many supported these changes in China as it introduced them to the international community for the first time.
However China paid a heavy cost for its new ways in two ways:
1. Local industries and traditions were ruined.
2. Foreign countries retained the profits of the Chinese economy
As World War I began the pace of change in China escalated even as foreign investment was drawn away to the war.
During this time commercial and industrial cities emerged across China leading to an expanding working and middle class. In addition to the economic changes were cultural changes that would influence the Chinese for decades.
As early as the Jesuits first interactions with the Chinese- Western literature and education was introduced to the Chinese people.
By the late 1800s this influence was strongly felt as Western ideas became more available to the Chinese middle and working classes. Significance The significance of this period in Chinese history is that:
1. Political instability of this time would lay the groundwork for coming revolutions that would shape the Chinese society we witness today
2. Continued the spread of Western ideas in the areas of literature, culture, education, economics, and politics. Boxer Rebellion General Yuan Shigai Chinese Flag in 1910s Shanghai, 1911