The Fall of the Chinese Empire

March 3, 2011
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China was once a strong and stable Empire but it began its decline in the 1500s and continued until modern times. This was caused by major reasons such as a refusal to trade, an uprising against foreign control, and the effect from a change of monarchy to a democracy.


Trade in China began suffering during the Ming dynasty because of its unwillingness to cooperate and allow the import of European goods. During the Ming dynasty, silk was in high demand throughout all of Europe and China would only trade for gold, which the British refused. The British sent opium instead, which was agreed to by the government and quickly was accepted and used by the Chinese people. However, it was highly addictive and soon the Chinese government outlawed opium causing the British to illegally export and smuggle the drug into the country. This started the Opium Wars, which seriously impacted China and was likely the beginning of the fall of the Chinese Empire.


When Britain invaded during the Qing dynasty in 1895, China created a secret society trained in martial arts to fight against the British. This was known as “The Righteous Fist” or “The Boxers”. The British were at the mercy of The Boxers until more troops appeared causing the China to lose.


In 1911, the Qing dynasty was controlled by the Manchu minority. The Manchus decided on a form of government that hadn’t been used before, democracy. Unfortunately this democracy was corrupted, votes were easily bought, and brought about another collapse. The idea of democracy created a dysfunctional government that caused a civil war, the Xinhai Revolution, and the overthrow of the Qing/Manchu Dynasty. The Xinhai Revolution ended with the establishment of the Republic of China and the presidency of Sun Yat-se bringing a failed democracy to an end.


In conclusion, the collapse of the powerful Chinese empire was due to their unwillingness to trade with foreigners, their failed attempt at rebelling against European invasion, and the corruption of a democracy meant to replace a monarchy.





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