How do we evaluate the 1911 revolution

     How do we evaluate the 1911 revolution?

The 1911 Revolution was a historical occurrence, in ending the monarchial rule, which had been prevalent for over 2,000 years. However, its repercussions were ambiguous. The Revolution was also eclipsed by the 1949 revolution. It was also stigmatized due to the Kuomintang defeat. Nevertheless, the significance of the 1911 evolution cannot be overlooked due to the historic abolition of the monarchial culture. The 1911 revolution was not orchestrated by the United League, but instead, it was triggered by army troops in Hubei, who was pushed on by neighboring revolutionary groups to integrated into the league. Junior soldiers in Wuhan were forced to choose between revolt and arrest. Initially, the revolt was successful due to the will-power of the revolutionary troops and junior officers, and the cowardice of the Chinese officials and the responsible Manchu. In one day, the insurgents had seized the offices of the governor-general and its arsenal and also secured Wuchang. There was no revolutionary leader, who was nationally recognized, and hence, Colonel Li Yuanhong was coerced to foresee military command. He was not powerful because he was only a figurehead. The Chinese republic was established, and the head of the civil government was Tang Hualong[1]. The report will look into the 1911 revolution and evaluate its significance and its ambiguities in Chinese history.

How the 1911 revolution unfolded

Zou Rong and Sun Yat-sen played an imperative role in the ending of the Qing rule in China through their revolutionary efforts and writings[2]. Feudalism was on the brink of collapse by the 20th century. Years of defeat and mortification at the hands of the Japanese and Western colonial powers. This is, in addition to a sequence of thwarted insurgences, created a platform for the demise of the Qing dynasty. There were two unfoldings that were influential in this occurrence.

Emperor Guangxu died in 1908 due to a strange disease at the age of 37. The following day, Dowager Cixi also fell ill and succumbed to the disease. Before her death, she chose the nephew of Guangxi, Puyi, who was two years old, as her successor[3]. The rule of Puyi was three years, with the help of Qing officials, who shielded him from the revolts and unrest that were rampant in China. Due to the lack of an effective leader, the insurgence was able to spread and grow.

The second imperative event was a bomb that exploded in 1911. October 11. The insurgents had entrenched China and were mostly composed of radical young Chinese, who earned their education from Japan and other nations. They were focused on avenging the national disgrace, and affirm the glory of the Chinese in their own land. The exploded bomb was being amassed by the revolutionaries in Wuchang. The loyal empire authorities moved in and tried to curb the stretch of the revolutionary activities. The captured insurgents were killed, and they hunted other members. The revolutionary group was prompted to act swiftly against the Qing authorities so that they would conquer the reigning empire. After the bomb exploded, the insurgents gained an advantage. The Manchu leaders did not have the capability of dealing with the crisis. The royal government-appointed Yuan Shikai, the Beiyang Army leader, to alleviate the unrest[4]. The Nationalist Party leader was not in China, but in the United States for a fund-raising in the last months of 1911. He learned of the insurgence and its extent while in the US.  Senior military officials made various demands from the Qing administration so that they would continue fighting the insurgents. The insurgents’ power had grown remarkably, and that is when they elected Sun as the Chinese Republic provisional president. There were various assassinations attempts in 2012 against high ranking Manchu generals and princes and Yuan Shikal.  Four Beiyang senior Army commanders advocated for the formation of a republic in China. In 1912, the Emperor Puyi was forced to abdicate, and in return, they would gain safety and financial security[5]. Yuan was sworn in, on March 12, 1912, as the first president of the Republic of China.

The significance of the 1911 Revolution

The Qing Dynasty was overthrown following the 1911 revolution. This was the end of the monarchy system that was autocratic and had been prevalent for more than 2,000 years, and the Republic of China was formed. After the 1911 Revolution, the minds of the Chinese people were emancipated[6]. By the end of Revolution, monarchy, which was deemed to inviolable and sacred, was declared unacceptable, dark and evil, to the equal and free people. It was not possible for the monarchy to be restored, and the ancient feudal system had been completely destroyed. In addition, numerous people, who were once regarded to be abject and ignorant, and did not have any control of their lives, were now converted to the county’s masters.

The Revolution of 1911 did not only crumple the monarchy system in China but also enhanced democracy among the people of China. Therefore, this was a great transition of China from a monarchy system to a republican system, in conjunction with political modernization. The widespread emancipation of the mind culminated in a sequence of changes to social conventions and the moral habits and outlooks of individuals[7]. The Revolution led to the end of the archaic ideas, and pumped new vitality and impetus to the society and played a congruent role in the improvement of the moral standards of the individuals at the time. The insurgency developed imperative conditions for economic and social development, and the insurgencies during the era always pushed the objectives of strengthening and enriching China and ensured that the people were well off. There was the great convincing that if the autocratic feudal government was overthrown, the country would automatically attain economic development at a swift rate, and overtake or keep up with the Western nations, within the shortest time possible.

The Revolution was focused on improving the livelihood of the people, and it was also focused on the people’s wellbeing via economic development. After the provisional government was established in Nanjing, the economic development of China experienced an extraordinary booming period. In the early period of the Republic of China, the modern industry outperformed the late Qing dynasty of industrialization that prevailed for several decades, in terms of scope, scale, and volume[8]. There was a considerable improvement in medical services, media, and education sectors. This was a positive stepping stone to the future economic and social development of China.

The 1911 revolution made viable contributions to the formation of the Chinese national community. After the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the revolutionaries promptly embrace the egalitarianism of all ethnic clusters, stressed on the elimination of obstacles among diverse ethnic entities and enhance ethnic synchronization. Sun affirmed that the people are the greatest aspects of a state, and hence he integrated the regions occupied by Tibetans, Hui, Mongolians, Manchu, and Han into one state is known as the union of nations[9]. There were no moves and concepts in the preceding feudal dynasties of China that were of far-reaching and great imperativeness to the development of the Chinese nation.

The insurgence was also significant in the formation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The ideological liberation enhanced by the Revolution offered the conditions and the environment for various social and political theories, including Marxism. There was the derailing of the development of the capitalist republic, and depressed and suspicious individuals had to find another platform, which put down the ideological foundation of socialism. After the 1911 revolution, the national capitalism development reinforced the proletariat of China, which was a precedence of forming CCP. Some CCP’s early activists, were very active during the 1911revolution, or had been bestowed with imperative positions, as early as the era of T’ung-meng Hui[10]. In addition, some had been profoundly edified as a result of the Revolution. Consequently, the Revolution was significant in training cadres responsible for forming the CCP.

Following the formation of CCP, it has always held that it continues to fight as the development and extension of the 1911 Revolution and it succinctly affirmed that all the people in China, apart from the few reactionaries, were all successors of the revolutionary that was commenced by Sun Yat-sen[11]. The CCP inherited the anti-feudalism and anti-imperialism fight initiated by the Revolution to achieve the national liberation and independence of the people. This was in addition to the revival of China, aimed at enhancing Chinese prosperity and uplifting the Chinese people.

Ambiguities of the 1911 Revolution

There are various authors who are unsure of the events that unfolded during the 1911 Revolution. In Cultural Revolution and the Communist Revolution (1949 Revolution), such hesitations are not evident. The 1911 Revolution had been overshadowed by the revolutions that were deemed to be much greater that followed after the 1911 revolution. It has been justifiably been deemed to be not much of Revolution. There is the argument that the 1911 Revolution, is not worthy to be referred to as Revolution because it left the Chinese people worse-off, in comparison to the Qing dynasty[12]. The 1911 Revolutionary failed to achieve the republican and nationalistic ideals which it instigated. Queries which emerged after the 1911 Revolution have raised doubt about the efficacy of the Revolution. It was an unfinished or failed revolution because of the failure of Kuomintang rule and the 1949 Communist Party. Kuomintang indicated that the 1911 Revolution was written as the Kuomintang party history, rather than a national historical event, which was an evident ambiguity. Despite the Revolution exerting sufficient effort to bring down an old regime, the Revolution did substantially little to put in place a new regime. Consequently, it did not merit being referred to a revolution, and more so a successful or completed revolution. Revolutionists should be distinguished from rebellions, insurrections, and coup d’état. Revolutionists should be subjected to disagreements so that nation building could encompass the efforts of everyone, but this was not the case of the 1911 revolutionary, which can be referred to as coup d’état[13]. This is because the greatest achievement attributed to the 1911 Revolution was overthrowing the Monarchial rule that had been in place for over 2000 years.

Conclusion

The 1911 Revolution was a historic occurrence, in ending the monarchial rule, which had been prevalent for over 2,000 years. However, the Revolution is marked with controversy and whether it was an actual revolution. There are those who believe that the 1911 was an important turning point for China as it brought equality to everyone in China by bringing together the different cultures in China. The Revolution of 1911, did not only destroy the monarchy system in China, but also enhanced democracy among the people of China. The Revolution was focused on improving the livelihood of the people, and it was also focused on the people’s wellbeing via economic development. The 1911 revolution made viable contributions, to the formation of the Chinese national community. After the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the revolutionaries promptly embrace the egalitarianism of all ethnic clusters. The insurgence was also significant in the formation of the Chinese Communist Party (CPP). CCP led to the revival of China, aimed at enhancing Chinese prosperity and uplifting the Chinese people, on the other hand, there are those who believe that the 1911 Revolution was full ambiguities, and thus it does not qualify to be referred to as a revolution. The 1911 Revolution was overshadowed by the Cultural Revolution and the Communist Revolution. It is also blamed for leaving the Chinese people worse-off, in comparison to the Qing dynasty. Hence, they indicate that the movement was more of a coup d’état rather than a revolution. Nevertheless, regardless of what various authors believe, the 1911 Revolution will always be a great part of the Chinese history as it brought an end to the Monarchy regime.

References

Dirlik Arif and Roxann Prazniak. The 1911 Revolution: An end and a beginning. China Information 25(3) 213–231

Guo Wang. The ‘revolution’ of 1911 revisited: A review of contemporary studies in China. China Information 25(3) 257–274

Schiffrin, Harold Z. “Kidnapped in London.” In Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese

Revolution, 98-139. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970.

SUN Yat-sen, “Three Principles of the People.”“The Last Emperor’s Abdication Edict.” In Sources in Chinese History: Diverse Perspectives from 1644 to the Present, edited by David G. Atwill and Yurong Y. Atwill, 152-153.London: Prentice Hall, 2010.

“Tongmeng Hui Revolutionary Proclamation, 1907” In The Search for Modern China: A

Documentary Collection, edited by Pei-kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, 202-206. New

York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1999.

“ZOU Rong, On Revolution.” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection,

edited by Pei-kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, 197-202. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.,

Inc., 1999.

 

[1] Tongmeng Hui Revolutionary Proclamation, 1907” In The Search for Modern China: A

Documentary Collection, edited by Pei-kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, 202-207. New

York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1999.

 

[2] Harold Schiffrin, Z. “Kidnapped in London.” In Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese

Revolution, 98. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970

[3] “Rong ZOU. On Revolution.” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection,

edited by Pei-kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, 198. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.,

Inc., 1999.

 

[4] Rong ZOU. On Revolution.” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection,

edited by Pei-kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, 199. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.,

Inc., 1999.

 

[5] Rong p. 201

[6] Tongmeng Hui Revolutionary Proclamation, 1907” In The Search for Modern China: A

Documentary Collection, edited by Pei-kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, 202-206. New

York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1999.

 

[7] Tongmeng Hui Revolutionary Proclamation, 1907” In The Search for Modern China: A

Documentary Collection, edited by Pei-kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, 204. New

York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1999.

 

[8] Wang Guo. The ‘revolution’ of 1911 revisited: A review of contemporary studies in China. China Information 25(3) 258

 

[9] Wang, p. 260

[10] Tongmeng Hui Revolutionary Proclamation, 1907” In The Search for Modern China: A

Documentary Collection, edited by Pei-kai Cheng and Michael Lestz, 205. New

York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1999.

 

[11] Harold Schiffrin,Z. “Kidnapped in London.” In Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese

Revolution, 100. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970

[12] Arif Dirlik and Roxann Prazniak. The 1911 Revolution: An end and a beginning. China Information 25(3) 223

[13] Arif Dirlik and Roxann Prazniak. The 1911 Revolution: An end and a beginning. China Information 25(3) 226

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