The Qing dynasty, which was established in 1636, was Chinas last imperial dynasty. Its reign was from 1644-1912, 268 years. In 1644, the Ming dynasty last emperor hanged himself after China was in chaos for months, and the capital conquered. Before it was the Ming dynasty and after it was the republic of china. The empire grew in size under the rule of the Qing dynasty. The population increased from 150 million to 450 million. Qing is the longest dynasty ruled by foreigners. It was a regime that was influential and long-lasting. Manchu invaders established the family and led it. It had a lot of overseas contacts.
The dynasty's capital was in Beijing, from there, emperors ruled in continuity, from the forbidden city. The Qing dynasty is the fifth-longest imperial dynasty, regardless of the uprisings against it. It experienced prosperity at the era's initial stage but later faced challenges. China remained in isolation during colonization, expanding its population and borders. During the industrialization age, China retained its traditions and remained undeveloped. The events leading to the fall of the Qing dynasty are believed to be external, as a result of foreigners' influence, by some people, and believed to be a result of internal changes by others. Below is a description of a debate between two international students in Tokyo, 1912, on the weather the dynasty's fall was as a result of foreigners' influence or internal factors.
In the debate, the student that argued it was exclusively the foreigners' faults that led to the fall of the Qing dynasty presented the following arguments, firstly, militarism. The first opium war revealed the outdated Chinese military state. The British Royal navy modern firepower and tactics outclassed, severally, the Qing navy, which was entirely composed of wooden sailing junks. The British soldiers, by the use of advanced artillery and muskets, outgunned and outmaneuvered Qing forces easily in ground battles. Qing's surrender in 1842 marked a blow to China that was decisive, and humiliating.
The Nanjing treaty, which was the first of the unequal treaties, demanded reparations of war, forcing them to open up of Foochow, Amoy, Ningpo, Canton, and Shanghai by China, to missionaries and western traders and to cede Hong Kong Island to Britain. This provoked rebellion against the regime by exposing weaknesses in the Qing government. In this same year, 1842, the Qing dynasty fought with the Sikh Empire, which was the last independent kingdom in India, resulting in peace negotiations and a return to the status quo antebellum. It marked the beginning of the fall of the great Qing dynasty.
Secondly, the rise of the unequal treaty systems within Great Britain led the European powers, imposed unequal treaties, extraterritoriality, free trade, and treaty ports under the control of foreigners. These unequal treaties gave the foreigners an upper hand hence disadvantaging the Qing dynasty. Some conventions were used in the stabilization of the Qing dynasty, such as the Treaty of Nerchinsk. The conclusion of all unequal treaties was done after the Qing dynasty suffered military losses or threats from foreigners' imperialist powers. These unequal treaties gutted the economy of China and undermined the forces of the state.
The British were the first power to force China into an unequal treaty; this happened during the period of the first opium war, which took place between 1839- 1842. This treaty made China compelled to give her the best nation status and was unofficially able to use opium for trade. Some of the examples of unequal treaties signed during the era of the Qing dynasty include the Nanjing treaty, which was the first of the unequal treaties that were designed to benefit the West and impose harm to China. It required the payment of British merchants for damages, placement of low tariffs on British goods, trade, and open five ports to British residence. The events gave the West a chance to explore Qing's weaknesses and exploit them for their benefits, leaving the dynasty exposed.
Thirdly, imperialism. It is the use of force from the military, colonization, and other means to extend a nation's influence and power. The Qing believed that if the minimized western impact by controlling the trade and restricting it, they would avoid white lotus rebellion and remain in force, during the mid19th century. The Qing refused trade negotiations with the West and insisted on payment for their tea in the form of gold and silver. In response to this, Britain began a lucrative, illicit trade in opium. They traded from British imperial India into Canton, which is far from Beijing. Since the Chinese authorities felt challenged, they burned 20,000 bales of dope.
The British retaliated with a devastating invasion on Chinas mainland. The two opium wars,1839-1842 and 1856-1860, resulted from that. Since China was unprepared for such an on slaughter, the Qing dynasty lost, and Britain imposed unequal treaties. The British took control of the Hong Kong region and millions of silver pounds as compensation for the lost opium. This act depicted great China as vulnerable and weak to all its subjects, tributaries, and neighbors'. Due to the foreigners' imperialism, the Qing dynasty suffered its fall.
Lastly, gunboat diplomacy, one of the primary reasons for the fall of the Qing dynasty, is western technology. The West had better technology compared to China. China remained Tradition and uncivilized throughout the industrialization age. It was, therefore, easy for the western power to overthrow the Qing dynasty. Gunboat diplomacy is the foreign policy objectives pursuit with the aid of naval power conspicuous display, with the implication of direct warfare should the superior strength find the terms not agreeable. To avoid war and restore a state of peace, China was forced into signing the first unequal treaty, the Nanjing treaty, which forced China to repay British merchants alongside other benefits for the West. This happened after the West discovered that all Chinas sailing junks were made of wood. It, therefore, placed China in a disadvantaged position that forced the dynasty into signing the Nanjing treaty in 1942. Due to the Westerns having better technology, the Qing dynasty was disadvantaged, leading to its fall in 1912, after the rise of the boxer rebellion, which occurred between 1899-1901 and the Wuchang uprising, which took place between 1911-1912.
The student in support of internal factors have led to the fall of the Qing dynasty argued that, firstly, corruption. The regime, from within, was corrupted. With the Qing dynasty's weaknesses exposed, Chinas power over the peripherals was lost. Just like in the past families, in the Qing dynasty, corruption was present. In dynastic China, local officials were in charge of the enforcement and implementation of law and regulations. They paid high ranking officials a regular fee and bestowed them with lavish treatment as well as taking care of the offices' expenses and the rest used as their salary. However, the funds allocated to the administration by the imperial budget was low.
Prefects and local officials received small amounts, "Jang-lien jin," the silver to maintain integrity. Even with that, they still accepted bribes. Sometimes, payment of extra fees for the same services several times would happen; this resulted in bribing, making it more complex and challenging for the central government to control. The government officials, for money. Would trade their influence and had strong cliques to protect them from punishments. In efforts to eradicate corruption, the Qing dynasty introduced Qing legal code in 1644 and enforced it for nearly 270 years. One of the most corrupt officials was He Shen. Fraud within the Qing government presented as a weak link contributing to the fall of the dynasty.
Secondly, population growth. During the early and mid-Qing social history, it is a fact that the population grew, there were population density and mobility. The community is estimated to be roughly 150 million in 1700 (Kais, 2019). In 1850, the eve of the Taiping rebellion, the population had doubled and reached a height of 450 million (Kais,2019). The spread of new world crops like peanuts and potatoes was one of the reasons behind the population growth. Due to these crops, the was decreased death number due to malnutrition Diseases like the small box was under control.
There was fewer infants' death as a result of improved child care and birth techniques available to the public. The mobility was high. Qing subjects had an organized movement. With the large population, there were sometimes food shortages; it was hard for the Qing government to control the vast populace, after their depiction as weak and vulnerable. Their inability to control the high population contributed to their reasons for fall.
Thirdly, rulers incompetence. Just like all dynasties before the Qing governance, Qing dynasty did not start as incompetent. Incompetent rulers may be cruel and sadistic. The second emperor of the Qing dynasty, emperor Kangxi was a capable administer and leader. Within the same time frame, the government was weak, and the Qing emperors were incompetent. Peasants were dissatisfied with the financial incompetence from Ming, one of Qing's dynasty emperor. Due to the Qing government having the presence of unqualified leaders lucking the required skills, the subjects fell victim to their authority. This encouraged some rebellion against the Qing government. An example of such a resistance is the Taiping rebellion that killed between 20-30 million people, the Dungan revolt in the northwest that occurred between 1862-1877, Yunnan's Panthay Rebellion, which took place between 1856-1873, and in Guizhou, Miao Rebellion that occurred between 1854-1873. These incompetent leaders within the Qing government contributed to its overthrowing and fall.
Kangxi emperor, the fourth emperor, is considered one of the greatest Chinese emperors of all time, was also incompetent. Due to some hostile treatment to subjects by incompetent rulers, they urge to overthrow the Qing government grew from within the government to its people, contributing to the reasons that led to the overthrowing and fall of the great Qing dynasty.
Additionally, the food shortage . The population is known to have tremendously increased during the period of the Qing dynasty governance. During this governance, there were food shortage experiences. This might be as a result of the regular famines in the land and also the population density. It is challenging to feed a high population with frequent famines hitting the land. Due to this, there was a food shortage. Three distinct but related spheres comprised grain circulation in the Qing dynasty. In reaction to chronic food shortage and high prices, there were spontaneous uprisings. There were crowd gatherings at market places and government offices protesting against high grain price. They blocked rivers and roads and going to rich people's houses in their protests. Generation of conflicts mostly came as a result of those with grains refusing to sell them at a lower price, restricted exports, or make loans.
Riots sometimes occurred for weeks when officials failed to decisively and promptly curb a disturbance. In the 19th century, agricultural history showed food riots in Fujian, Anhui, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fengtian, Guangdong, and Hubei. In Qing society, riots were in the form of conventional conflicts. These riots are tied to Qing's general economic activities pattern.
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