The Political History of China, 1840-1928

The Political History of China, 1840-1928

The Political History of China, 1840-1928

The Political History of China, 1840-1928

Excerpt

Many of the great changes occurring in Chinese political history during the past hundred years are the traceable results of events which occurred during the period approximating the reigns of Ch'ien-lung [ 1736-1795 ] and Chia-ch'ing [ 1796-1820 ]. This heyday of the Manchu or Ch'ing dynasty marked also the beginning of general decline in China.

Adequate perspective on Changing Chinese conditions during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries must include a survey of European technological and political developments during the same period. James Watt's steam engine [ 1765 ], Arkwright's spinning frames and cotton mill [1768 ], and Robert Fulton's steamship [ 1807 ] all accelerated the industrial revolution. Political and social change was also given impetus by the speculations and theories of such writers as Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau. Adam Smith Wealth of Nations, earning its author the appelation of "father of modern economics," championed an economic policy of laissez faire. Quesnay's physiocratic views also included support for the theory of laissez faire. Changes in practice and theory, enormously altering the old structure of European society, also spread in a great tide over the rest of the world.

The European powers were competing among themselves in their attempts to found colonies in 'all parts of the globe. During the eighteenth century Spain's supremacy in sea power gradually passed to England. Parliamentary England competed with France, a strong centralized monarchy. The War of the Austrian Succession first extended the Anglo- French contest to India. The Seven Years' War [ 1756-1763 ] intensified the conflict over India. By the Treaty of Paris in 1763 India passed almost completely to Britain. A contest for the New World ran concurrently with the struggle in India. Taking Quebec in 1759 and in the next year occupying Canada, Britain gained predominance in North America.

After this bitter competition for colonies two major political changes occurred. One was the war for independence won by England's colonies in America. The other was the French Revolution. After the restoration . . .

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