The Revolution of 1911

Key Terms
Yuan Shikai (16 September 1859-6 June 1916) (aged 56)

Qing dynasty
The last dynasty of China that ruled between 1644-1912 B.C. The dynasty was followed by Republic of China. Sometimes the dynasty was called "Manchu dynasty" or Manchurian dynasty because the rulers were Manchus.
Sun Yatsen
The leader of the enemies of the Qing dynasty in the 1900s.
Wuchang Rebellion
A rebellion which triggered the end of the Qing dynasty and established the Republic of China.
Yuan Shikai
A Chinese general and politician who later became the first president of China.
Three Principles of the People
A political philosophy developed by Sun Yat-sen. The 3 main goals were:
1.Nationalism-Overthrow the Qing dynasty.
2.Democracy-Create a republic government.
3.People's Livelihood-Peasants are allow to own lands.

The revolution of 1911 (Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution) was a revolution against the government. It started in September 1911 when the police fired on a crowd of protesters. This killed many of the protestors, and a month later, the rebels seized control of the Wuchand District with the help of soldiers from the area. After that, the rebellion spread though out central and southern China and became a full-scale revolution. The goal of this revolution was to create a republic government and to overthrow the Qing dynasty.

Sun Yatsen

Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yatsen was a political leader and a revolutionalist. The birth name of Sun Yat-sen was Sun Wen and his official name was Sun Deming. In overall, Sun had a lot of names but the most popular name seems to be the name Sun Yat-sen that he used since he was 33 years old. The meaning of name "Sun Yat-sen" was "free god".
Sun Yat-sen was born on 12 November 1866 in the village of Cuiheng in Guangdong province. He was a a Christian and educated in American school after he moved to Hawaii. At first, school was hard for him because he couldn't speak English. Fortunately, Sun picked up the language very quickly. So quickly that he recieved a prize for his great archievement from King David Kalākaua, the last monarch of Hawaii. Since he had studied out of China, Sun Yatsen began to see how industrial other countries such as Britain and Japan were, he began to think how weak and backward his own country was. He formed secret societies attempting to overthrow the Qing (also called Manchu) Dynasty. He had to 3 aims, to eliminate the Qing Dynasty, to elimiate the monarchy and open China to socialism. Even though with all the secret groups, by 1911 he had attempted to overthrow the government ten times, but none succeeded.

The last years of the Qing dynasty

In 1908, Empress Dowager Cixi died, and her nephew prince Aisin-Gioro Puyi inherited the throne and became the emperor at the age of two. It was clear that the Qing dynasty was going to have some problems, having an two year old as their Emperor. His uncle, prince Chun, acted as a successor, the emperor could be easily overthrown since he was only a child. Prine Chun supported the politicians, princes and courtiers who disliked change They were very closed minded, and expected it was kept that way, after all it was beneficial to them. Prince Chun appointed his brothers to an important positions and he also appointed many of the Imperialist Princes to position of Prime Ministers. Prince Chun dismissed a lot of powerful and able officials, including Yuan Shikai, the chief military commander in northern China.
Three years later, in 1911, China began to face problems. The harvests failed and they had a period of economic difficulty. It was the worst crops harvest in 40 years and the peasants were unhappy. The wealthy were disliked that the government increased the taxes due to funds needed for the New Army. The wealthy were becoming mad that the governmnet was using foreign assitance and asking for loans to build railways.

The Wuchang rebellion

On September 1911, a rebellion against the government began. The rebellion started their uprising in Sichuan province after a violent attack from the police. The police fired on a crowd of demonstrators which caused a lot of them to die. Agents from Sun Yatsens group helped spread the rebellion. The New Army in their base at Wuchang joined the rebellion on October 10th. With the help of the army, the rebels easily took control of Wuchang. Then, the rebellion spread out through central and southern China,becoming a full-scale revolution. By the end of November 1911, fifteen out of eighteen provinces had joined the cause. These rebels created a provisional government in Nanjing opposing the Qing dynasty in Beijing.

To counter the rebels, the Manchus recalled Yuan Shikai back from retirement in October 27th 1911. He was made Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the armies. He also had been offered the noble title of Marquis of the First Rank which was rare to receive. After that, he was ordered to obliterate the rebels at all costs.

Yuan was the most able and skillful general in China at that time and he quickly defeated the rebels and won back Wuchang. He had the rebels captured, but he was smarter than to kill and punish them. He made a deal with their leaders and promised to help the rebels achieve their goal in return of their support. Yuan would try to persuade prince Chun and the Emperor Puyi to give up the throne using his great power and influence. He then planned to make China a republic country and he would take office as the president of China.
Map during the time of Qing dynasty

The rise of Yuan Shikai and the contest for leadership

While the rebellion was taking place, Sun Yat-Sen was in America, raising funds. He returned on 24th December and he was elected as the President of "The United Province of China" one week later. He was elected by an assembly of the rebels at Nanjing. China had a contest of leadership between Yuan Shikai and Sun Yatsen. Sun represented the deplomatic choice for the rebels but Yuan had the support of the army. With his army, Yuan was able to persuade the assembly at Nanjing that he should be the president because of his military superiority, he would protect the country better.Yuan was elected president of the republic of China by the assembly in February 1912 and Sun resigned without protest to avoid civil war between his supporters and Yuan's army.
Prince Chun and Emperor Puyi stepped down from the throne, and the Qing Dynasty ended. The abdication which they issued was posted on the Daily Mirror :
"Today the people of the whole Empire have their minds bent on a Republic, the southern provinces having begun the movement, and the northern generals having subsequently supported it. The will of Providence is clear and the people's wished are plain. How could I, for the sake of the glory and honor of one family, oppose the wishes of teeming millions? Wherefore I, with the Emperor, decide that the form of government in China shall be a constitutional Republic...."



Compare and contrast the downfall of the Tsar, to the downfall of the Qing(Manchus) Dynasty.

The downfall of the Tsar and the Qing dynasty were very similar, they both were overthrown by its people, but for similar and different seasons. China and Russia had ineffective leaders, because of their age, and because of how they managed their government officials around them. Both of their leaders abdicated due to the public, and provisional governments were set up by the rebels that took over. In 1911, the Wuchang Rebellion took place, and rebels took over and set up a provisional government, however this government wasn't carried out, as China became a Republic. Yuan Shikai made a deal with the rebels and helped them overthrow the Qing Dysnaty. Later he became president after an election between him and Sun Yatsen. In Russia, after the March Revolution in 1917, a Provisional Government took over the country for 8 months after the Tsar abdicated. This government was then overthornw by the Bolsheviks and Lenin seized control of Russia. Lenin took over after the Provisional Government was established, however Yuan Shikai was elected president without any provisional government being set up. These two events happened six years apart, but the conflicts had been building up for years.

Worksheet. The Revolution of 1911.

Pre-Communist China and China under Communism
Unit Two- The Rise of Communism