Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 




The Modern Era

1789 - 1914


In Europe, the revolutionary transformation of the ruling systems and state structures began with a bang: In 1789 the French Revolution broke out in Paris, and its motto "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite"—Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood—took on an irrepressible force. A fundamental reorganization of society followed the French Revolution. The ideas behind the revolution were manifest in Napoleon's Code Civil, which he imposed on many European nations. The 19th century also experienced a transformation of society from another source: The Industrial Revolution established within society a poorer working class that stood in opposition to the merchant and trading middle class. The nascent United States was shaken by an embittered civil war. The economic growth that set in following that war was accompanied by the development of imperialist endeavors and its rise to the status of a Great Power.
 

 


 


Liberty Leading the People,
allegory of the 1830 July revolution that deposed the French monarchy,
with Marianne as the personification of liberty,
contemporary painting by Eugene Delacroix.

 

 


see also:
THE ART OF ASIA
 

 


China to the Last of the Emperors


CA. 1840-1912
 

 

The high point of the Manchu Dynasty (1644-1912) had passed. China was increasingly losing political and economic power to the British, who had prevailed in two Opium Wars. The British, Russians, and French were claiming more and more Chinese territory for themselves. Internally, the Manchus had to contend with secret societies and religious movements, as well as the widespread opium use within the country. Weakened in this way, the Manchu state broke apart after hesitant reforms and was replaced in 1912 by a republic.

 


The Opium Trade and European Treaty Ports
 

The Opium Wars forced European economic and cultural influence upon China.

 

Ever since the British had begun importing opium from India into China, China's trade balance had significantly worsened.

The import of 1 opium into China was banned under Chinese law, as the country was able to manufacture enough for medicinal purposes domestically.


1 Chinese poster against increasing European influence in the country

The use of opium was banned in 1810. When the imperial Chinese government in Canton confiscated large amounts of opium, it led to the 2 First Opium War in 1840, because the British refused to relinquish the drug trade.

An expeditionary force with warships militarily enforced the continuation of the trade. The weakened Chinese were forced to agree to the first "unequal treaty," which was signed in Nanjing on August 29,1842. It stipulated the payment of war reparations by the Chinese, the cession of Hong Kong to the British, and the opening up of five further ports to British trade. But the new conditions still did not go far enough for the British because they did not coincide with their concept of free trade.
The Europeans also won the Second Opium War, or Lorcha War (1856-1860).

In the 3 Treaty of Tientsin in 1858, they secured ten more "treaty ports."


2 The English force the Chinese
to buy British opium from India


3 Treaty of Tientsin between England and China,
June 26, 1858

When the Chinese resisted and mishandled British prisoners, 20,000 British and French soldiers destroyed the 5 emperor's summer palace.

The Treaty of Beijing in 1860 legalized the opium trade. In addition, cheaper European products flooded into China after the import duty was lowered, destroying the Chinese economy and its chances of modernization.

Internally, the Taiping (Great Peace) movement—a synthesis of traditional religious and Christian views demanding an egalitarian social system—became a serious opponent of the Manchus.

Its followers revolted against the imperial government under the leadership of 4 Hung Hsiu in 1851 in the Taiping Rebellion and erected their own state, which encompassed a large portion of southern and southeastern China with Nanjing as its capital.

The rebellion was ended in 1864 by the Manchus with British and French aid and cost the lives of 20 million people. After that, Muslim uprisings shook the province of Yunnan between 1864 and 1878. In Sinkiang, on the western rim of the Chinese Empire, Yakub Beg established a Muslim Turkish empire from 1865 to 1877 as khan of Kashgar.


5 The emperor's summer palace in Beijing


4 Hung Hsiu

 

 


The End of the Empire
 

China's influence in Asia diminished. The Boxer Rebellion demonstrated the weaknesses of the Manchu government, and it was soon replaced by a republic.

 

After China had already lost its northern territories to Russia in 1860, it lost Vietnam to France in the Sino-French war of 1884-1885 and Burma to Great Britain in 1886.

The intervention of Japan and China in a revolt in Korea in 1894 then triggered the 6 Sino-Japanese War.


6 Battle during the Sino-Japanese War 1894-1895

Despite China's superiority in troops, the war—especially after the lost naval battle in the estuary of the Yalu River— ended with defeat and a large loss of territory. Influence in Korea, which then became independent, had to be given up.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the voices that demanded ever more reform, after the Japanese model, finally reached Emperor Òå Tsung. He was willing to transform China into a constitutional monarchy with further modernizations. But a coup d'etat by the powerful dowager empress Tz'u-hsi and her conservative followers put an early end to the reforms phase.

In 1899 she recognized the 7 secret society of the Boxers, which then gained ground.

The Boxers denounced the exploitation of the country by the Europeans and strove for a restoration of China's former greatness.

To this end, they 8 attacked foreign installations and murdered Europeans.

The Boxer Rebellion of 1900, which was 9 crushed by the Japanese, Europeans, and Americans, led to even greater restrictions on China's sovereign rights.
 


7 Boxers Drawing By Koekkoek, circa 1900
8 Boxers fighting Eight-Nation Alliance

 

 

Boxer Rebellion
Chinese history
Main
officially supported peasant uprising of 1900 that attempted to drive all foreigners from China. “Boxers” was a name that foreigners gave to a Chinese secret society known as the Yihequan (“Righteous and Harmonious Fists”). The group practiced certain boxing and calisthenic rituals in the belief that this made them invulnerable. It was thought to be an offshoot of the Eight Trigrams Society (Baguajiao), which had fomented rebellions against the Qing dynasty in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Their original aim was the destruction of the dynasty and also of the Westerners who had a privileged position in China.

In the late 19th century, because of growing economic impoverishment, a series of unfortunate natural calamities, and unbridled foreign aggression in the area, the Boxers began to increase their strength in the provinces of North China. In 1898 conservative, antiforeign forces won control of the government and persuaded the Boxers to drop their opposition to the Qing dynasty and unite with it in destroying the foreigners. The governor of the province of Shandong began to enroll Boxer bands as local militia groups, changing their name from Yihequan to Yihetuan (“Righteous and Harmonious Militia”), which sounded semiofficial. Many of the Qing officials at this time apparently began to believe that Boxer rituals actually did make them impervious to bullets, and, in spite of protests by the Western powers, they and Cixi, the ruling empress dowager, continued to encourage the group.

Christian missionary activities helped provoke the Boxers; Christian converts flouted traditional Chinese ceremonies and family relations; and missionaries pressured local officials to side with Christian converts—often from the lower classes of Chinese society—in local lawsuits and property disputes. By late 1899 the Boxers were openly attacking Chinese Christians and Western missionaries. By May 1900, Boxer bands were roaming the countryside around the capital at Beijing. Finally, in early June an international relief force of 2,100 men was dispatched from the northern port of Tianjin to Beijing. On June 13 the empress dowager ordered imperial forces to block the advance of the foreign troops, and the small relief column was turned back. Meanwhile, in Beijing the Boxers burned churches and foreign residences and killed suspected Chinese Christians on sight. On June 17 the foreign powers seized the Dagu forts on the coast in order to restore access from Beijing to Tianjin. The next day the empress dowager ordered that all foreigners be killed. The German minister was murdered, and the other foreign ministers and their families and staff, together with hundreds of Chinese Christians, were besieged in their legation quarters and in the Roman Catholic cathedral in Beijing.
Imperial viceroys in the central Yangtze River Valley and in South China ignored government orders and suppressed antiforeign outbreaks in their jurisdiction. They thus helped establish the myth that the war was not the policy of the Chinese government but was a result of a native uprising in the northeast, the area to which the disorders were mainly confined.

On August 14, 1900, an international force finally captured Beijing, relieving the foreigners and Christians besieged there since June 20. While foreign troops looted the capital, the empress dowager and her court fled to Xi’an, leaving behind a few imperial princes to conduct the negotiations. After extensive discussions, a protocol was finally signed in September 1901, ending the hostilities and providing for reparations to be made to the foreign powers.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 


9 The Eight-Nation Alliance with their naval flags. Japanese print, 1900.

 

 

The Boxer Rebellion

The Boxer Rebellion was triggered by the murder of the German ambassador, Baron von Ketteler, in Beijing in June 1900, and the siege of the foreign embassy quarter by the secret society of the Boxers.

It was finally crushed by an international expeditionary force including Japanese, European, and American troops which occupied Beijing on August 14, 1900, and made several bloody punitive expeditions under a German general, Field Marshal Count von Waldersee, against the insurgents.

The Boxer protocol of September 1901 ended the conflict and committed China to, among other things, large reparations payments and the toleration of foreign military bases.



The murder of the German ambassador, Baron von Ketteler, on June 20, 1900

 

 

Only after the Russians and Japanese had divided Manchuria into spheres of influence in 1904-1905 was the Chinese court ready for reforms. A constitution and the formation of a parliament were planned, but only hesitantly enacted. In 1911 there was a military revolt in Wuchang that spread through the empire and finally forced the last emperor, P'u-i, to abdicate. P'u-i had ascended the throne as an infant in 1908, after having been designated the successor to the throne by dowager empress
Tz'u-hsi as she lay dying.

The republic that was proclaimed at the end of the year by the revolutionaries around 11 Sun Yat-sen was governed by General Yuan Shikai from 1912.


11 Sun Yat-Sen

Under an agreement signed with the new Chinese leadership, P'u-i retained his imperial title. It also stipulated that he was to be treated with the same official protocol as a foreign leader.

 

 

Sun Yat-sen


Sun Yat-sen

Chinese leader
Chinese (Pinyin) Sun Yixian, (Wade-Giles romanization) Sun I-hsien, original name Sun Wen, courtesy name (zi) Deming, literary name (hao) Rixin, later Yixian, also called Sun Zhongshan
born Nov. 12, 1866, Xiangshan [now Zhongshan], Guangdong province, China
died March 12, 1925, Beijing

Main
leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang [Pinyin: Guomindang]), known as the father of modern China. Influential in overthrowing the Qing (Manchu) dynasty (1911/12), he served as the first provisional president of the Republic of China (1911–12) and later as de facto ruler (1923–25).

Early life and influences
Sun was born to a family of poor farmers in Xiangshan, in the South China province of Guangdong. In 1879 his brother Sun Mei, who had earlier emigrated to Hawaii as a labourer, brought him to Honolulu, where, as a student at a British missionary school for three years and at an American school, Oahu College, for another year, he first came into contact with Western influences. Because his brother objected to his penchant for Christianity, Sun returned to his native village in 1883 and went to study at the Diocesan Home in Hong Kong in the fall; late that year, he was baptized by an American missionary.

In 1884 he transferred to the Government Central School (later known as Queen’s College) and married Lu Muzhen (1867–1952), who was chosen for him by his parents. Out of this marriage a son and two daughters were born. After another trip to Hawaii, he enrolled in the Guangzhou (Canton) Hospital Medical School in 1886. He transferred later to the College of Medicine for Chinese in Hong Kong and graduated in 1892.

Although not trained for a political career in the traditional style, Sun was nevertheless ambitious and was troubled by the way China, which had clung to its traditional ways under the conservative Qing dynasty, suffered humiliation at the hands of more technologically advanced nations. Forsaking his medical practice in Guangzhou, he went north in 1894 to seek political fortunes. In a long letter to Li Hongzhang, governor-general of Zhili (Chihli, now Hebei) province, he set forth his ideas of how China could gain strength, but all he received from Li was a perfunctory endorsement of his scheme for an agricultural-sericultural association. With this scant reference, Sun went to Hawaii in October 1894 and founded an organization called the Revive China Society (Xingzhonghui), which became the forerunner of the secret revolutionary groups Sun later headed. As far as it can be determined, the membership was drawn entirely from natives of Guangdong and from lower social classes, such as clerks, peasants, and artisans.

Years in exile
Taking advantage of China’s defeat in the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) and the ensuing crisis, Sun went to Hong Kong in 1895 and plotted for an uprising in Guangzhou (Canton), the capital of his native province. When the scheme failed, he began a 16-year exile abroad.

In 1896, under circumstances not entirely clear, Sun was caught and detained for 13 days by the Chinese legation in London. It appears likely that Sun ran into a fellow Cantonese who worked for the legation and was found out and seized while visiting him under an alias. The legation planned to ship Sun back to China, but, before this could be done, Sun had converted a British employee at the legation to his side and got word through to James Cantlie, former dean of Hong Kong College of Medicine. The British Foreign Office intervened, and Sun was released from his captivity. The incident engendered great publicity and gave Sun’s career a powerful boost.

After spending much of the ensuing eight months reading in the British Museum, Sun traveled to Japan by way of Canada. Arriving in August 1897, he was met by Miyazaki Torazō, an adventurer who had heard of the London incident and who was willing to help Sun in his political activities. Miyazaki introduced Sun to many influential Japanese, including the elder statesmen Ōkuma Shigenobu, Soejima Taneomi, and Inukai Tsuyoshi, from some of whom Sun was to receive both political and financial assistance.

During the turmoil of 1900, Sun participated in secret maneuvers involving Sir Henry Blake, the British governor of Hong Kong, and He Kai, an influential Chinese in that colony. Their aim was to persuade Li Hongzhang to declare independence from the Qing. Responding to an invitation by Li’s staff, Sun journeyed to Hong Kong, but, fearing a trap, he did not go ashore. Instead, he was represented by Miyazaki and two other Japanese at the meeting, which proved fruitless.

Previously, Sun had made contact with bandits and secret societies in Guangdong. These forces began a revolt in Huizhou (present-day Huiyang in Guangdong) in October 1900. The campaign, the second of 10 claimed by Sun between 1895 and 1911, lasted 12 days.


Founding of the United League
The year 1903 marked a significant turning point in Sun’s career; from then on, his following came increasingly from the educated class, the most prestigious and influential group in China. For this decisive change Sun owed much to two factors: the steady decline of the Qing dynasty and the powerful propaganda of Liang Qichao, a reformist who fled to Japan in 1898, founded a Chinese press, and turned it into an instant success. Liang did not actually oppose the Qing regime, but his attacks on Cixi, the empress dowager, who effectively ruled the country, served to undermine the regime and make revolution the only logical choice. As a consequence, Sun’s stock rose steadily among the Chinese students abroad. In 1904 he was able to establish several revolutionary cells in Europe, and in 1905 he became head of a revolutionary coalition, the United League (Tongmenghui), in Tokyo. For the next three years the society propagandized effectively through its mouthpiece, “People’s Journal” (Minbao).

The rise in Sun’s fortune increased many of his difficulties. The United League was very loosely organized, and Sun had no control over the individual members. Worse still, all the revolts Sun and the others organized ended in failure. The members fell into despair, and outside financial contributions declined. Furthermore, as a result of pressures exercised by the Qing, foreign governments increasingly shunned Sun. In 1907 the Japanese government gave him a sum of money and asked him to leave the country. A year later French Indochina, where Sun had hatched several plots, banned him completely. Hong Kong and several other territories were similarly out of his reach.

In the circumstances, Sun spent a year in 1909–10 touring Europe and the United States. Returning to Asia in June 1910, he left for the West again in December after a meeting with other revolutionaries, in which they decided to make a massive effort to capture Guangzhou. This time Sun raised more money in Canada and the United States, but the uprising of April 27 in Guangzhou (known as the March 29 Revolution, because of its date in the Chinese calendar) fared no better than the earlier plots. The possibility of revolutionary success seemed more remote than ever.

But help was to come from the Qing. If only for self-preservation, the court had sponsored reform since 1901. In the next few years it reorganized the army, instituted a school system, abolished the civil-service examinations based on traditional Chinese scholarship, reconstructed many government organs, and convened provincial and national assemblies. The educated class nevertheless remained unsatisfied with the tempo of change, and the regime was rapidly losing its grip over the situation.


The revolution of 1911
In 1911 the Qing decided to nationalize all the trunk railways, thus incurring the wrath of local vested interests. Armed rebellion broke out in the province of Sichuan, and the court exposed itself to further attacks by failing to suppress it. In October of the same year a local revolutionary group in Wuhan, one of many in China by this time, began another rebellion, which, in spite of its lack of coordination, unexpectedly managed to overthrow the provincial government. Its success inspired other provincial secessions.

Sun Yat-sen learned of the Wuhan revolution from the newspapers while he was in Denver, Colo. He returned to Shanghai in December and was elected provisional president by delegates meeting in Nanjing. Knowing that his regime was weak, Sun made a deal with Yuan Shikai (Yüan Shih-k’ai), an imperial minister who had been entrusted with full power by the court. On Feb. 12, 1912, the emperor abdicated; the next day Sun resigned, and on the 14th Yuan was elected his successor.


Later struggles
In September, Yuan appointed Sun director-general of railway development. Their entente might have lasted if Song Jiaoren, who had reorganized the Alliance Society into the Nationalist Party and was serving as its head, had not been assassinated in March 1913, reportedly at Yuan’s instigation. This precipitated a second revolution, in which Sun opposed Yuan. When the campaign failed, Sun fled once again to Japan. While there, he unavailingly sought Japanese aid by promising vast concessions in China, and he also alienated many revolutionaries by requiring them to take an oath of personal allegiance to him. He was also criticized for marrying his secretary, Song Qingling (Soong Ch’ing-ling), in October 1915, without divorcing his first wife.

A combination of internal opposition and external pressures defeated Yuan in 1916. The next year Sun went from Shanghai to Guangdong to launch a movement against the premier, Duan Qirui (Tuan Ch’i-jui). Elected generalissimo of a separatist regime in July, Sun had to resign and leave for Shanghai toward the middle of 1918, when he lost the support of Lu Rongting, the military overlord of Guangdong.

Earlier, Lu had agreed to Sun’s gaining control over 20 battalions of armed guards if the forces would remain outside Guangdong. Accepting this condition, Sun appointed Chen Jiongming (Ch’ien Chiung-ming) as the commander and dispatched his men to Fujian. By persuading Chen to fight Lu, Sun found his way back to office for another 16 months, at the end of which Chen turned against him, and Sun had to leave for Shanghai again. From that sanctuary, he wooed the troops from Guangxi and Yunnan, and with their help he again returned to Guangzhou. In February 1923 he installed himself as generalissimo of a new regime.

Meanwhile, a new factor had risen in Sun’s political life. Unsuccessful at obtaining aid from the West and Japan, he looked increasingly to the Soviet government, which had come to power in Russia in 1917. A Soviet diplomat, Adolf Joffe, visited Sun in Shanghai in both 1922 and 1923. On the latter occasion the two issued the Sun-Joffe Manifesto declaring that the communist system was not suitable for China, that Russia intended to give up its privileges there, and that Russia had no intention of extending its influence over Outer Mongolia. At Soviet prodding, the Chinese Communist Party resolved to cooperate with the Nationalists.

In October 1923, Mikhail Borodin, a representative of the Comintern (Communist International), arrived at Guangzhou and soon gained Sun’s confidence. Early in 1924 Sun reorganized the Nationalist Party as a tightly disciplined body with authority descending from the top to the lower levels on the model of the Soviet Communist Party. Under his directive a party congress elected three communists to its central executive committee and approved the establishment of a military academy (of which Sun appointed Chiang Kai-shek [Jiang Jieshi] president). Part of his party-building efforts were a series of lectures Sun delivered on his own doctrine, the Three Principles of the People.

Although these actions strengthened the Nationalists, there was still considerable opposition to Sun’s authority when he died of cancer in Beijing in March 1925. His coffin remained uninterred in a temple in Xishan until 1929, when it was moved to a mausoleum in Nanjing.


Assessment
Sun’s political doctrines are summarized in his Three Principles of the People (nationalism, democracy, and people’s livelihood—the last involving the regulation of private capital and “equalizing land rights”) and his Plan for National Reconstruction, which explained basic parliamentary procedures, attacked the traditional Chinese saying that to know is easier than to do, and set forth a grandiose plan for China’s industrialization, concocted by Sun without much help from engineers or economists.

Although sanctified by his followers, Sun’s doctrine was not his major strength. All contemporary sources attribute to him a magnetic personality, a great capacity for tolerating others’ weaknesses, a singular dedication to the pursuit of power, and a knowledge of the West unequaled by that of any of his political rivals. Perhaps the last factor is the most important, for it is this that set Sun apart and made him the symbol of Chinese modernization. Quite fittingly, the Chinese communists call him “a pioneer of the revolution.”

Yi Chu Wang

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

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