What were the internal and external pressures that bore on the Qing rulers as china began to experience closes contact with the west? How effective were thier responces in both the long term and the short term, and why?
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The major internal pressure came from rebellions like the Xinhai Revolution that unseated Longyu, the Empress Dowager, in favor of Puyi, who would prove to be the last Emperor of China. Longyu abdicated and Puyi took the Empire in February of 1912.
The internal and external pressures the Q'ing rulers experienced were caused by the increasing contact and the imbalance of trade with European nations. By the 19th century there was a great demand for Chinese tea, silks, glass, however China had little interest in European goods. Then came opium, a goods that could be bought cheap from China and make Europe rich. Over time the external demand for opium increased as China's internal desire to end the opium trade clashed. This clash led to the Opium Wars with Great Britain and ended with the Nanking and Tientsin treaties. The treaties sought only to economically benefit Europe and later the United States. As a result, the Chinese were increasingly resentful of foreigners. This resentment prompted internal nationalistic movements such as the Boxer Rebellion (1900) to combat western influence. Unfortunately, they were short lived due to foreign military strength in China. The Q'ing dynasty ended in 1912.
Certainly the benefits of trade and the wealth that was at stake was a definite pressure on the Qing government to participate more in trade with Britain, and opium is a very good example of something that the British tried to trade with the Chinese. This increase in the trade however was something that profoundly impacted China in the long term.
From the outside, the Qing were being pressured to accept more trade. This was particularly true of opium as the British tried to sell something to China that would recoup some of the bullion that Britain was pumping into China in exchange for tea. Internally, the Qing were facing various revolts through the 1850s due to the dynasty's general economic and political weakness.
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