By William T. Rowe
In a brisk revisionist historical past, William Rowe demanding situations the normal narrative of Qing China as a decadent, inward-looking nation that did not maintain speed with the trendy West. the nice Qing used to be the second one significant chinese language empire governed via foreigners. 3 robust Manchu emperors labored diligently to safe an alliance with the conquered Ming gentry, even though lots of their social edicts—especially the requirement that ethnic Han males put on queues—were fiercely resisted. As advocates of a “universal” empire, Qing rulers additionally accomplished a massive enlargement of the chinese language realm over the process 3 centuries, together with the conquest and incorporation of Turkic and Tibetan peoples within the west, enormous migration into the southwest, and the colonization of Taiwan. regardless of this geographic variety and the accompanying social and financial complexity, the Qing perfect of “small executive” labored good whilst outdoors threats have been minimum. however the nineteenth-century Opium Wars compelled China to turn into a participant in a predatory overseas contest regarding Western powers, whereas the devastating uprisings of the Taiping and Boxer rebellions signaled an pressing want for inner reform. accomplished state-mandated alterations in the course of the early 20th century weren't adequate to carry again the nationalist tide of 1911, yet they supplied a brand new beginning for the Republican and Communist states that will keep on with. This unique, thought-provoking background of China’s final empire is a must-read for knowing the demanding situations dealing with China at the present time. (20091204)
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Additional resources for China's Last Empire: The Great Qing (History of Imperial China)
44 china ’s last empire: the great qing This was Confucian “benevolent governance,” to be sure, but it also decreased the capability of the state to mobilize in the face of new threats or unanticipated needs. 16 From the early eighteenth century on, Qing rulers recognized that their subject population was increasing at a dangerously rapid rate, but population growth was so universally identiﬁed as a sign of good governance that the notion of using ﬁscal or other means to put a brake on births was unthinkable.
Those who passed the exams and went on to become ofﬁcials did, of course, necessarily educate themselves in administration practices, but this was an entirely separate body of literature from the examination curriculum. 19 The exams remained above all a test of reﬁned literacy, which, given the crucial importance of clear written communication to the task of administering so vast an empire, made a certain amount of practical sense. Yet the examinations were written and graded by human beings with agendas of their own, and they could be subtly manipulated for political purposes.
In Guangshan and Shangcheng counties of Henan’s southern highlands, for example, bondservant labor in agriculture was the norm. The dynastic transition had been marked, here as elsewhere, by waves of rebellion among this unfree workforce. In 1658, on a rumor that the new Qing court had declared universal emancipation, the bondservants rose up one ﬁnal time. But the recently arrived Qing prefect moved quickly to demonstrate that the rumor was untrue, throwing his military forces behind local militias to brutally suppress the challenge to landlord rule.
China's Last Empire: The Great Qing (History of Imperial China) by William T. Rowe