Why did the late Qing Dynasty persist for so long under domestic and foreign troubles?

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Guide: how to read history? The teacher is a person who loves reading history. A “twenty four histories” with about 40million words is a history book that teachers like to read most. It has left its own annotations, circles and sketches in many places. How do teachers view these histories?

According to Lu Di, a Peking University teacher who accompanied the teacher to read history in his later years, The teacher said to her, “if you don’t read a twenty-four history, it’s metaphysics. If you don’t read it, what do you rely on to understand history? On the contrary, everything is believed to be true, and every sentence in the book is regarded as a confirmed creed, which is historical idealism. The correct attitude is to analyze and criticize it with the standpoint, views and methods of Marxism, and turn the inverted history upside down.”

Today, I share an article to discuss why the late Qing Dynasty persisted for so long under the domestic and foreign troubles. In addition to the reasons mentioned in the article, another important reason why the late Qing Dynasty could persist was that the global environment at that time allowed the Qing government to borrow heavily to continue its life. The finance of the Qing government had collapsed during the period of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, and it would be difficult to support it for more than 60 years if there were no foreign powers to borrow; Similarly, in the late Ming Chongzhen period, if you can borrow money, although it can not change the outcome, it is likely that you can continue to live for a relatively long time. Of course, in the Nanming period, it was not a financial problem. With the scum physique of Nanming, it was difficult to continue life by borrowing.

Source: Zhihu Author: Carton brave

Since we want to discuss this issue from the perspective of history (my level is far from enough to “study”), we’d better first understand what kind of thing history we want to discuss is.

The history we learned from the exam is as follows:


The characteristic of this kind of history is that it gives an absolutely correct answer, but it often doesn’t tell you where the so-called “wrong answer” is wrong, except for the inconsistency with the scripted content.

We learn about history from popular literary works:


This kind of history is grand and wonderful, passionate and fascinating, but it often won’t tell you why?

We learn about history from talk shows:


This kind of history is caustic and eye-catching. Of course, it is not necessarily in line with common sense.

We learn about history from simulation games:


The picture comes from Zhihu @ Chengxia’s answer

This kind of history is hard to believe when you drink too much and go crazy.

Under the nourishment of various historical entertainment industries, we are easy to have an illusion: history is a series of events, each event needs to make a choice, and then it will naturally move forward on an established road.

However, this is just an irresponsible induction. For people living in “history”, this is their “life”, their “destiny” and their “exploration”.

A passage, a sentence, a few words, an adjective we see in the history book may hide the rise and fall of countless families and the efforts made by these families to survive and continue.

Why did the late Qing Dynasty persist for so long under domestic and foreign troubles?

Because the topic we are discussing is “subjugation”!

The subjugation of the country is a great thing, and the lives of thousands of people depend on these two words. Just as we will fight for our own life, so will they.

There are signs before the subjugation. When these signs appear, those who can see, have ideas, and have the ability will all act, or try to save the government, or try to occupy a dominant position in the reconstruction after the destruction.

From the reign of Emperor Qinshihuang but the death of emperor II to the collapse of the Qing court, the millennium history repeats the cyclical law of the rise and fall of the Dynasty again and again. China’s cultural heritage has never been cut off, which means that our generations can learn from the laws of the rise and fall of history.

The late Qing government, whether you praise it or belittle it, can’t help but admit that it deserves the words “the peak of the agricultural Empire” in the concept of governing the country.

After the early appearance of the “omen of national subjugation” of the Qing court, such a group of people loyal to the government made the “learning from history” to the extreme.

In order to avoid extinction, the central government has done almost everything it can and should do, and tried many things it cannot and should not do. With the full support of these people, the Qing government staggered for another half century.

To borrow the words of Zhihu boss Mo Wu – brutal repression at home and compromise and concession abroad, that is not called “internal security must be first to hustle outside”, that is called “continuation”.

Now let’s take a look:

What kind of perfection did the Qing court achieve in the word “continuation”.

Before discussing, we should limit the scope of “late Qing Dynasty” to the period from the occupation of Nanjing by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1853) to the abdication of Puyi (1912).

In these 59 years, how many death omens of the “last dynasty” have appeared in the Qing Dynasty? Let’s see how the Qing government has been dying for half a century:

First, the struggle for power after the “collapse of rites and bad music”.

Here we can refer to the Northern Song Dynasty.

With his personal interest, Huizong of Song Dynasty played the country until he overdrawn. Facing the newly emerging military power Jin State, he was completely flustered. He chose to run for his own safety, chose the Zen position in order to run for his own safety, and later repented and tried to return to power.

At this time of retreat and advance, the state system was in chaos, and two power centers loomed in the monistic centralized empire. Therefore, the father and son emperors led a group of officials to fight openly and secretly. It was false that state affairs were important, and it was true to seize power.

For the father and son’s coercion, the national power was consumed again and again, which could have been repulsed. At least, it was also a dilemma for the Qin Wang army to deter the Jin army, and it was even forced to give its head away.

Finally, the chaos ended with the shame of Jingkang. The Northern Song Dynasty Empire buried the father and son who were fighting for power and profit. Poor millions of soldiers and civilians were all victims of the Royal struggle.


Song Huizong

Looking back at the late Qing Dynasty, Cixi, who was in power, was not a good stubble. She controlled the government for decades in the name of the Empress Dowager and directed three major political changes, including the elimination of the eight ministers who took care of orders, Prince Gong, and the imperial Party’s reformists.

When it comes to chaos, I’m afraid it’s second only to the rebellion of the eight kings of the Western Jin Dynasty, which is an open-ended civil war. Even Dong Zhuo’s visit to Beijing at the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty to abolish the legislature is ashamed of himself.

Among the three times, the first Xinyou coup was the most influential. The world shook when the year of shasushun was changed.

It is reasonable to say that at this time, there are the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom inside, foreign powers outside, and the Hunan Huaihe military power faction, which has obtained the military, political, financial and personnel rights through setting up cards. Such a move by the central government is simply a typical phenomenon of national subjugation.



However, the coup was too beautiful.

Local governors were not affected much, and the external powers did not have time to respond. The Hunan Huaihe army, which fought the Taiping Army on the southern front, let alone the Qing junbian Army (the reason is ready-made, the strength is enough, and the template can directly copy the Xiuji army after the change of Japan’s instinctive Temple). Even there are few who have been beaten into a SUSHUN party.

It’s not that the coup was “supposed”, but that such a clean coup reduced internal friction to a minimum, which can be mentioned in parallel with the transformation of Xuanwu Gate.

Even if you stand opposite the Cixi school, you have to say a word of “service” to their means. Therefore, this level was defused by the ruling team.

Second, the local power faction that pays more attention to the outside than the inside.

The common cycle at the end of the dynasty is as follows:

– problems in the central finance have triggered local rebels, or the invasion of foreign enemies, or the outbreak of domestic and foreign troubles;

– the system problems that have been accumulated for a hundred years have led to repeated failures of the officers and troops;

– the imperial court ordered local officials who were familiar with the actual work to recruit more flexible “private soldiers” by themselves, which effectively solved the military crisis faced by the Empire;

– with private soldiers as the core, emerging military meritorious groups have been formed. The central government’s financial revenue cannot give military meritorious groups sufficient rewards, and they have to delegate personnel and financial powers to make them take their own;

– once the power is delegated, it is difficult to recover, and the military group quickly degenerates into an impenetrable community of interests, which is prosperous and disastrous, maintaining amazing synergy in the fight against “traditional powerful groups”;

– the central control force, which was forced to distribute power to military groups, was weaker, and the weak central government further stimulated ambitious local power factions to be ready to move

Once the feedback is formed, it is a spiral fall. The Eastern Han Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty, the two most powerful Han Dynasties, are the model that went to the end.


The success of the late Qing Dynasty in this regard was almost like a miracle.

The Pingtai army used the general of the Hunan army to recruit troops by himself. After the collapse of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, the Hunan army was immediately abolished and the Huai army was used. In the northwest war, zuozongtang, the commander of the Chu army outside the Hunan Huaihe army, was used. Finally, after the failure of the Sino Japanese War, the Beiyang new army was re trained. This army firmly stood on the side of the Qing government in the coup of 1898.

From the period of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom to the reform movement of 1898, for almost two generations, the local power faction has not formed a factual separatist regime.

Of course, the main reason is the promotion of telegraph, which has strengthened the central government’s control over local areas. If many dynasties in history can have such convenient communication technology, it may last for decades.

This pass, relying on power and technology, the Qing government was lucky to pass again.



Third, the vested interest class.

The Ming Dynasty is the best example of being dragged to death by vested interests.

The taxes of the officials and gentry can’t be collected, and the taxes of businessmen can’t be collected. The financial burden of the whole country is all on the poor at the bottom. The consequence is that the more the bandits are suppressed, the more the taxes need to be increased, and the more the taxes are increased, the more people are forced into the camp of the rebel army. Finally, when Li Zicheng is not ready to take over the world, he unexpectedly enters Beijing smoothly and smoothly.

In this respect, it was luck plus strength plus unsuccessful attempts in the late Qing Dynasty that avoided this super pit.

Luck is to catch up with the industrialization of the West.

Although reduced to a semi colony, it can survive by collecting tariffs and drinking some soup. With the financial resources of tariffs, the central government can appropriately delegate the power of setting up cards and charging fees at the local level, and the front-line troops can feed themselves without robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Although the local erosion could not be remedied, on the whole, the Qing government was at least not dragged to death by the gentry.

Strength is a means of reform.

Yes, reform is incomplete, but incomplete reform is more promising than no reform. Years of war have provided a rising channel for the low-level intellectuals and middle and low-level civilians who have no hope of official career.

About 30 governors and two great scholars came out of the Hunan Huaihe army. Among them, except Zeng Guofan, others may not be able to make a name for themselves by donating money from the imperial examination.

However, the late Qing government gave them the opportunity to bring these talented people into the system, which did not make them frustrated all their lives, let alone force them to “wait for death, death can be.”.

Put aside the position to evaluate, the current situation of the late Qing Dynasty is indeed more vibrant than that of the late other dynasties. It is also gambling on life and wealth. There is an example of Yang Dashuai, Peng Dashuai and Liu Dashuai in front of us. Why should we rebel?

The unsuccessful attempt was the reform movement of 1898.

In this reform, the Qing government wielded a knife to cut down on the once basic plate – the children of the eight banners.

If this reform can be carried out, the Qing government will get rid of the biggest historical burden in finance and administration, move forward lightly, and may even survive the outbreak of World War I. at that time, the Qing government may become the spokesman of China’s national consciousness.

Although the Post Communist Party represented by Cixi launched a counterattack and wiped out the imperial party because the Reform Party took too big a step, some achievements of the reform were preserved.

By the way, the late Qing Dynasty was really a magical Dynasty. The powerful ministers on the Court changed from batch to batch, but most of the time they were able to “die and govern”.

Su Shun shouted, “we are all bastards, only Han ministers can use it”. After he was killed, none of the local Han governors moved;

Prince Gong bowed to the great powers, and after his title of king of politics was deprived, the Qing court did not abolish the Yamen of the premier’s affairs of various countries;

The reform movement of 1898 was interrupted by the coup, and the reform party was almost wiped out, but the Qing Dynasty did not regard the reform as a beast since then.

Such a dynasty can “continue” for decades, and it has its own way to success. However, this flexible attempt has not been “institutionalized”, and the administrative reform and political position have always been entangled.

After the reform movement of 1898, no one dared to mention the “abolition of the privilege of the eight banners”. When King Qing, who had great ambition and few talents, came to power, the Manchurian aristocrats had just launched a counter offensive in the form of “Royal cabinet”, which had a violent impact on the delicate balance that had not been easy to form.

In just a few years, the Han gentry who were disappointed in the Qing Dynasty turned to the revolutionary party. It was only ten years before Tongguang Zhongxing, and the huge regime of the Qing Dynasty collapsed.

So stop making fun of “my Qing Dynasty is dead”. In order to ensure that the Qing Dynasty will not die in its own hands, this regime has made many efforts from top to bottom.

And what did he do with those four eyes?


Don’t ask what Daqing has done for you, ask more about what you have done for Daqing.

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