An Ordinary Relationship: American Opposition to Republican Revolution in China

By Daniel M. Crane; Thomas A. Breslin | Go to book overview

7
America and the Growth of Dictatorship in China

ALTHOUGH the Wilson administration reversed Taft's cooperative approach to the problems of recognition and finance, withdrawal from the consortium and prompt recognition of the Republic represented a change of means, not of ends. As subsequent events demonstrated, American policies and attitudes under the Wilson administration were consistent with those of the Taft administration.

The republican government formed by Yuan was a "mixed bag of incongruous elements."1 Initially, both Yuan and the republicans believed that "the best way to meet the present situation . . . is . . . to make our people feel conscious of the external dangers around us and of the absolute necessity in presenting a united front."2Yuan, however, particularly distrusted representative government; he believed it to be inimical to his goal of concentrating power in the hands of the central government, in order to enact the "reforms" necessary for china to regain its national sovereignty. However, the republican faction, led by Song Zhiaoren, felt that national reconstruction required the establishment not of a strong executive but of genuine parliamentary government and of a national political party. Unlike Yuan, who wished to place all power in the hands of the president, Song, and the provisional Nanjing constitution which he authored, strongly endorsed the concept of legislative supremacy.

In August 1912, Song took a major step toward his goal of estab-

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