How did the Taiping Rebellion affect China?
The taiping rebellion 1850-1864
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Defeat at the hands of the Europeans after the Opium War helped to set off a series of rebellions against the Qing.
In the 1850s and 1860s, the Taiping rebellion, a semi-Christian movement under a prophetic leader, called for land redistribution, the liberation of women, and the destruction of the Confucian scholar-gentry. When the local gentry became sufficiently alarmed, provincial forces finally defeated the rebellion. Honest officials at the provincial level began to carry out much needed reforms, including railway construction and military modernization. Resources moved from the central court to the provinces, until the provincial leaders posed a real threat to the Qing government. The Manchus continued to obstruct almost all programs of reform, despite repeated defeats at the hands of the Europeans and the Japanese.
The last decades of the dynasty were dominated by Cixi, the dowager empress. Cixi refused all attempts at reform. The dowager empress clandestinely supported the Boxer Rebellion from 1898 to 1901 as a means of ousting foreign influence.
The Taiping Rebellion led to the deaths of millions of Chinese so that, in and of itself, is a huge effect. However, its more lasting effect was to further weaken the Chinese imperial government.
The Taiping Rebellion itself was so big and so dangerous to the government of the Qing Dynasty that the government was forced to rely on aid from Britain and France to defeat it. In addition, it caused many other rebellions to spring up, further weakening the government.
By weakening the government and making it rely more on foreigners, the Rebellion had the effect of opening China even further to the West. In this way, it helped weaken China and make it more vulnerable to being dominated by the West.
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