The N64

March 21, 2013

A blurb on why I like the N64:

 http://citizennapoleon.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/thoughts-on-the-n64/

I hope you like it.

Jonathan K. Contrades

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Crossposting

March 21, 2013

Just cross linking all of my blogs:

Main: jonathancontrades.wordpress.com

Side: citizennapoelon.wordpress.com

East Asian topics, and my current work: americanorientalism.tumblr.com

Take a look.

Jonathan K. Contrades

About face

March 21, 2013

My about.me profile is now live:

http://about.me/jonathancontrades

Check it out.

Liberalism by force

February 18, 2009

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Despite her troubles for the past couple of centuries, China at the start of the nineteenth century was still on top. She had a huge population, a healthy economy and probably the largest armed force in the world. By the middle of the nineteenth century, she had been bashed and battered, and by the close of the century she was on a crash course for self destruction. How did China end up like this? She had been a great power for her entire history. China appeared powerful on the outside, but was rotten to the core, and in no other time period was this more noticeable than before and after the First Opium War. The British are rightfully seen as the cause for China’s fall from her illustrious heights, though it is debatable whether Britain was an antagonist or protagonist. The war exposed China for what she was: a corrupt, ethnically divided, bureaucratic mass. All it took to shake the Qing Dynasty out of their fantasy of stability was a war with the British Empire. At first, however, the consequences of the Opium War were not so drastic. China hardly came close to imploding as a result of the war. A foundation was laid, however, for the creation of a modern China.

To Europeans of the nineteenth century, China was both a wonderful and mysterious place. An early nineteenth century encyclopedia described China “as ‘an unbounded mart’ with a population clamouring for British commerce.”[1] Great expeditions had been carried out in order to find the fastest route to the East. One could easily argue that the majority of the exploration carried out from Columbus onwards was in search for a sea route to the legendary Cathay. She did, after all, have a huge population, and three products: tea, silk, and porcelain. Europe had a great appetite for Chinese products, and in Britain, tea took up a considerable amount of that appetite. Britain, however, needed something to exchange for the tea. Cash could be used, certainly, but that did not fit with the mercantilist mentality of the eighteenth century. While some merchants believed that China would trade for manufactured British goods, China did not much care for the lesser British goods. That commerce would not be for manufactured products: opium was introduced in the early eighteenth century to mend the balance of trade.[2] In fact, in the year 1828 opium was nearly 90% of the foreign import trade.­­[3] Europe at first had nothing that China wanted besides raw materials.[4] The manufactured goods of the time could not match the quality of traditionally crafted Chinese goods. The only item Europeans could offer besides silver were sea-otter pelts found in North America.[5] By the mid eighteenth century, Britain came out on top in China. Britain had a 63% market share in Chinese imports from Western Europe, and bought nearly 47% of China’s exports.[6] British economic power was a force to be reckoned with.

At the start of the nineteenth century, the Chinese merchants in Canton, mostly of Han ethnicity, formed the Co-Hong in order to deal with corrupt bureaucrats that over taxed and overregulated trade with foreigners.[7] This move resulted in the Co-Hong establishing and maintaining-until the Treaty of Nanjing-a monopoly on trade with foreigners.[8] This monopoly alone was provocative enough, but with the addition of the British East India Company, merchants were stretched near their breaking points. Until 1833, The Company would maintain its own monopoly on British trade with China.[9] The resulting conditions of trade were far from hospitable. Because of both monopolies and Chinese regulations, nearly every aspect of a foreign trader’s life was controlled. Curfews were established, foreigners could only live in a certain district in Canton, and the Co-Hong set trade policies and prices.[10] The pressure was not on European merchants, alone, however. Chinese merchants also shared the brunt of regulations: they could not “go into debt to the foreigners” and had to deal with similar taxes put in place by the government.[11]

Opium policy deeply divided the Chinese and British governments. The Chinese monarchy saw it as an evil practice, and the smoking of opium had been banned since 1729.[12] Interestingly, there is some evidence of an internal opium trade in China that predates the opium smuggling of the nineteenth century, with native opium from Sichuan sold throughout mainland China.[13] The British view was much less strict. Such a view was comparable to the British view on alcohol at home: banning it, while morally the right thing to do, was also impossible.[14] The best course of action would be to legalize, and therefore regulate, the opium trade.[15] While the two governments differed, the merchants of both countries agreed that the opium trade was a very profitable business. After all, Chinese merchants in Canton would collaborate with the British merchants to sell the opium: the British “trans-shipped [the opium] to Chinese receiving boats off the Canton coast and then sailed into Canton with honest cargo.”[16] Local officials were often bribed, and “closed their eyes and plugged their ears as the smugglers passed.”[17] The Chinese government persisted in its efforts to cut the trade, however, and sent Lin Tse-hsu, a provincial governor, to end the opium trade.[18] The Qing monarchy had a second motive, however. Huge amounts of silver were used to pay for the opium, and Canton experienced huge trade deficit in favor of foreign merchants.[19] The trade deficit is often blown out of proportion, mostly because China had an overall positive balance of trade from other places of exchange.[20] A real problem, however, was that Chinese merchants paid for opium in silver, and the price of the precious metal in Canton skyrocketed.[21] Trade issues alone might have sparked a war, but China was embroiled in another great struggle.

The ethnic divide between the Han merchants in Canton and the Manchu overlords in Beijing proved disastrous for the Qing Dynasty during the early 19th century. Centuries before, the Han Ming dynasty had been defeated, and the Manchu minority ruled over the Han majority. Throughout Qing rule, Han merchants in Canton were seen as “a worse enemy than the British.”[22] The distaste was not-one way, as Chinese merchants hated the restrictions placed on them by the Qing government: “there was at this time much more indignation against the Government’s opium policy than against the foreigners.”[23] The hatred for foreigners did not occur until British troopers “looted and raped villages north of Canton” during the war.[24]

The Treaty of Nanjing (1843) marks a great turning point in China’s history. Really, it symbolizes the decline of the Chinese Empire, though the fall would come decades later. The opium war showed those in power the great disparity in technology: the Chinese used matchlock muskets that belonged to the seventeenth and perhaps even eightenth century at best, and were far out of place for the time of the war.[25] Congreve rockets, experimented with in India and in the Napoleonic Wars, were also useful in destroying Chinese junks.[26] The Chinese had no leg to stand on in the field of rocketry, even if it was an imperfect field -even for the British-at the time.

The First Opium War turned out to be disaster for the Chinese monarchy. A campaign up the Yangtze cut off the Northern Manchu from the Han South, and the imperial court conceded defeat.[27] The previously mentioned ethnic tension must have had something to do with the capitulation. A theory could be that with British backing, the Han Chinese in the south would have risen up, and perhaps created a separate Han China, and a bring the old Han dynasty back into power. The Qing Manchu certainly would not have tolerated it. The result was the Treaty of Nanjing. Often, the treaty is seen as a humiliation and start to the complete domination of China by foreign powers. While this may be correct to a degree, some Chinese gained from the provisions of the treaty. The primary motive of the war was to open China to trade, and Britain now had that opportunity.[28] Before, only Canton had been opened to trade with Europe, now, five more ports (including Nanjing and Shanghai) were opened to foreign trade, and Hong Kong was given to the British Empire.[29] Besides that, the treaty “actually benefitted Han Chinese, especially those engaged in foreign trade and commerce,” and Han provincial governors had better access to tax revenues, as they no longer passed through corrupt Qing officials.[30] More importantly for the British, the Co-Hong was abolished.[31] No longer did monopolies rule Chinese trade. A remarkable outcome of the treaty was the uplifting of Britain’s perceived status. Before the war, the Chinese government looked down on foreign delegations, and would often receive foreigners with polite coldness.[32] The British were no longer “barbarians” when the treaty was signed: China was forced to view Britain as an equal.[33]

The Opium War and its immediate consequences were minimal. At the time, the Opium War was little more than slightly jarring experience for the Qing Dynasty. C.A. Bayly notes that the Qing would not face a true questioning of their right to rule until a few decades after the Treaty of Nanjing.[34] In fact, it would not be until the 1860s that China would have “the urgency to create a state and an army to match the British.”[35] The Dynasty even went so far as to write off the war as a victory, even though they made concessions through the Treaty of Nanjing.[36] There were changes, albeit small ones, that lay the foundations for the modernization of China. During the War, “Chinese rulers were found to be experimenting with the building of British-style steamboats and modern cannon.”[37] Some also argue that the Taiping Rebellion, a great Han revolt against the Manchu overlords, would find its roots in the outcome of the First Opium War. In the end, trade was liberalized, perhaps all for the better. No longer were Europeans forced to deal with the Co-Hong monopoly. With more cities open for trade, Europeans could expand into new, untapped markets. Chinese traders must have also benefitted from the now more liberal trade. After all, they were the collaborators in the smuggling of Opium. The Opium War, while not a shocking experience for the Chinese at first, would lay the foundation for the creation of a modern China.


[1]Lawrence James, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), p 235.

[2]Ibid.

[3]John A Harrison, China since 1800 (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967), p 16.

[4]Ibid, p 15.

[5]T.O. Lloyd, The British Empire: 1558-1983 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), p 107.

[6]Hu Sheng, From the Opium War to the May Fourth Movement (Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1991).

[7]Harrison, China, p 11-12.

[8]Ibid, p 11-12, 20.

[9]Ibid, p 16.

[10]Ibid, p 14-15.

[11]Ibid.

[12]Ibid, p 15.

[13]Bruce A. Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, 1795-1989 (Routledge: New York, 2001), p 13.

[14]T.O. Lloyd, The British Empire, p 183.

[15]Harrison, China, p 26.

[16]Ibid, p 16.

[17]Sheng, From the Opium War, p 36.

[18]Harrison, China, p 18.

[19]Ibid.

[20]Ibid.

[21]Sheng, From the Opium War, p 37.

[22]Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 31.

[23]Harrison, China, p 20.

[24]Ibid.

[25]James, The Rise and Fall, p 236-237.

[26]Ibid.

[27]Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 31.

[28]Ibid, p 14.

[29]Ibid, p 31.

[30]Ibid, p 31-32

[31]Harrison, China, p 20.

[32]James, The Rise and Fall, p 236.

[33]Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 13.

[34]C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World: 1780-1914 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), p 143.

[35]Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 15.

[36]C.A. Bayly, The Birth, p 259.

[37] Bayly, The Birth, p 268

Jonathan Contrades

Let Friedman Ring, by Jonathan Contrades

July 16, 2008

When this author thinks of Milton Friedman, he thinks of someone who may have been the greatest economist of our age, perhaps of all ages. Some might credit that honor to John Maynard Keynes who very well invented macroeconomics as we know it, but he does not believe this to be the case. Keynes’ ideas were good, but had neither the efficiency nor the freedom that Friedman’s theories allowed. The stagflation of the sixties and decades after it showed us that government intervention into the economy could go too far. It would be Milton Friedman who would pull us out of the old Keynesian system, and usher us into the market of today. He is the Adam Smith of our time. Milton Friedman’s overall theory and philosophy are what shape the markets and economies of today.

Friedman was above all a monetarist, believing that an economy can be regulated by changing the supply of money. While he was initially a believer in Keynesian theory, after World War II Friedman would convert to a laissez faire approach of the government towards the economy, and would criticize governments for reducing unemployment by driving up inflation (Heavyweight). If peoples’ wages rose, they would be more willing to work. But, once they realized that their money had lost all of its purchasing power, the mirage of low unemployment would fade to the terrible horror of a high rate of inflation (Heavyweight). This could, and did, lead to the phenomenon of stagflation that wrecked the American economy during the years of the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s. Stagflation is the terrible monster spawned of Keynesian economics gone wrong: increasing levels of unemployment along with increasing rates of inflation. Friedman’s belief was that the government should tightly control the money supply, and make the money supply stable (Heavyweight). This monetary policy could have saved us from the Great Depression, or, as Friedman called it, the “Great Contraction” (Heavyweight). Friedman criticized the Federal Reserve for “converting what would have been a serious recession after 1929 into a major catastrophe by permitting the quantity of money to decline by one-third from 1929 to 1933, even though it had ample power to vent the decline” (Friedman). Instead of allowing the government to hamper the economic freedoms of people as it did during the depression, is should simply adjust the supply of money in order to allow the economy to take care of itself, thus allowing for the greatest freedom. During the depression, people panicked, and pulled a vast quantity of money out of banks, and thanks to the money multiplier, created a vast shortage in the supply of money. Had the Federal Reserve reacted by filling the gap with money from central banks, the depression could have been staved off and the Great Depression would have been a footnote in the books of history (Friedman). The supply of money should only grow steadily in order to meet the needs of a growing economy, and not be changed too drastically (Monetarism). Thus, instead of the government dictating what will and will not be produced, the market can take care of such things, leaving people with the largest amount of freedom possible.

One of the primary philosophies held by Friedman was the reduction of government control over the economy, monetarism being just a facet of his overall philosophy. One the first policies of government to come under attack by Friedman was rent controls. The government, in order to look more open armed to those less fortunate, has implemented price ceilings on apartments, especially in highly urbanized areas, such as New York City. This seems all well and good however, until we realize that this causes more harm than good. Should a price ceiling be placed below the market equilibrium, than a shortage results, and people are demanding more residential space than their actually is. Friedman has constantly criticized this policy, even in his final years (Heavyweight). Interestingly, Friedman was also an active proponent for the decriminalization of certain drugs (America’s). He supported his stance by saying “I see America with half the number of prisons, half the number of prisoners, ten thousand fewer homicides a year…” (America’s). He believed that the government’s war on drugs did more harm than good, and has led to the creation of stronger, harder drugs (America’s). Also interesting is his stance on the licensing of doctors, which he believes should be discontinued (Capitalism). While his stances may be controversial, he stood firm by it. Friedman was also critical of the draft, and some believe that as a member of the commission to study the abolishment of the draft during the Vietnam War, ended the draft, which he called “an army of slaves.” (Heavyweight). Friedman was somewhat ruthless in his theories about the Corporation, believing that “the sole business of the managers of a publicly held corporation was to maximize the value of its outstanding shares” (Manne). To siphon off corporations profits for some other “greater good” was tantamount to socialism (Manne). Friedman was also an advocate of a school voucher program, believing that the government should supply the money, and the private sector should handle the maintenance (Doherty). This is a common theme in Friedman’s view of government: it has really only screwed things up. From the Great Depression, where the Federal Reserve poured gasoline on the fire, to today, where America’s public education system has been attacked from all sides for being horribly inefficient and shoddy at best, Friedman was critical of the government’s role in just about everything. But, he occasionally has dual beliefs: “while I’d like to abolish the Fed, I’ve written many pages on how the Fed, if it does exist, should be run” (Doherty). Friedman was practical, and if he couldn’t dismantle the system, the least he could do was tell it how to do its job.

Friedman was above libertarian in his political beliefs, though he admitted that he was a registered Republican (Doherty). In fact, one could say that he is the architect of the republican ideology when it comes to the economy: little government regulation. Friedman described himself as a classical liberal, something this author holds in the highest of regards (Doherty). He wished to be “a zero-government libertarian,” but admitted that such a system could never work (Doherty). He once wrote an article that said free societies are like are in an “unstable equilibrium,” and put the United States from independence to the Great Depression center-stage as an example of a libertarian society that succeeded in the long term (Doherty). Whatever label is applied to him, he had no true allegiance to any one principle (Doherty).

Milton Friedman believed that in order for societies to have political freedom, they must have economic freedom (Capitalism). Some point to the examples of Hong Kong, a highly unregulated economy, as an example of Mr. Friedman’s ideals. Another vindication is the fall of the Pinochet regime in Chile, where, with Mr. Friedman’s help, the economy was saved from a disastrous collapse (Heavyweight). Governments should be small, or so Friedman believed. The increased government spending of the nineteen sixties and onwards put the American economy in grave danger. What was this money spent on? Most of it went to public welfare programs, and into the defense budget. They money was spent by the government, and not by the people, so by its very nature the spending of the government was not only inefficient, but also drove us into the “Keynesian Bump” of the aggregate supply curve, thus causing massive amounts of inflation without increasing Real GDP, thus, stagflation. Friedman was also critical of government monopolies, such as the post office’s monopoly on mail handling (Capitalism). The government doesn’t have to invite people in, just allow for firms to compete with the government. The overall goal is competition, and allowing both the consumer and the producer to win. Whatever the situation, Friedman believed that the more freedom, the better.

So, Milton Friedman: great economist, or greatest economist? As stated before, this author holds Milton Friedman to be the greatest economist, perhaps followed closely or even tied to Adam Smith. This is not surprising, as they both hold many of the same ideals. They believed in little to no regulation, and a small government. It is all about freedom: the freedom to decide, or as Friedman put it, “Freedom to Choose.” This is why I hold them with the highest regard. In fact, this author’s favorite historical character, Napoleon, had this to say: “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”

Works Cited

America’s Drug Forum. Youtube. Washington D.C. 9 July 2007

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se_TJzB9-z0&gt;.

Doherty, Brian, “Best of Both Worlds.” Reason. 1995. 11 July 2007

<http://www.reason.com/news/show/29691.html&gt;.

Friedman, Milton. Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.

Friedman, Milton. “The Case for a Monetary Rule.” Bright Promises, Dismal

Performance: An Economist’s Protest. Free to Choose. 2002. 8 July 2007

<http://www.freetochoose.net/article_2c.html&gt;.

A Heavyweight Champ, at Five Foot Two.” The Economist. The Economist Online.

2006. 8 July 2007

<http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8313925&gt;.

Manne, Henry G. “Milton Friedman Was Right.” Wall Street Journal. Opinion Journal.

2006. 9 July 2007

<http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009295&gt;.

“Monetarism.” The Economist. The Economist Online.

2007. 8 July 2007

<http://www.economist.com/research/Economics/alphabetic.cfm?LETTER=M#M

ONETARISM>

The Qing Army in the Nineteenth Century by Jonathan Contrades

July 13, 2008

Local Success, Imperial Failure

The Armies of the Qing Dynasty in the Nineteenth Century

Jonathan Contrades

To say that the nineteenth century was rough for the Chinese Empire would be an understatement. At its start, she was first amongst nations, with a grand population and an innumerable armed force. By the century’s end she would be much humbled, not only by the West, but by the long looked down upon Japanese. The Imperial Army is easy to blame for the setbacks that befell the Chinese. Like the rest of the Chinese bureaucracy, she was rotten to the core by ethnic conflict and a corrupt bureaucracy. The ruling Qing used the army as its iron fist, crushing the constant rebellions that plagued virtually every Chinese dynasty. This force allowed the foreign Manchu to rule and forced the native Han to submit. Though the ancient Qing rulers defeated the Han Ming emperors in the sixteen hundreds, the ethnic divide could not be filled. A corrupt bureaucracy, the leftover of the Confucian system of governance, became even more resentful towards their overlords. This same bureaucracy would also spell the stagnation of army reforms, as tax revenues dried up in the second half of the eighteen hundreds. If China had been left alone, she probably would have collapsed in on herself, the Qing Manchu unable to hold back the disgruntled Han Chinese. While the rebellions would be crushed, the devastation wrought could not be fixed easily. The cost would be the empire’s centralization. Local governors gained autonomy as commanders of the modern militias created to defend the provinces. The Imperial Army proved useless, especially during the Taiping Rebellion, and local militias were formed to defend the provinces from Taiping attack.

Foreign intrusions would also prove disastrous for the empire. European powers had trade on their mind as they entered into Canton, the only open port until 1842. War would forcibly open China to the rest of the world, as reluctant as she was. China may have brought the world gunpowder, but the West had become far better at using it. She also failed to industrialize as fast as Europe-Britain especially-and would pay the price. The Opium Wars and foreign wars of aggression such as the “Great Game” played by Russia and Britain in Central Asia would wreck China’s control over her vassal states, and by the end of the century Japan and France would control Korea and Vietnam, respectively. This all came because of China’s Confucian mentality and outright arrogance. Even at the schools of the various arsenals established to supply the army with modern armaments, the study of the classics was preferred over learning new industrial techniques. Arrogance alone does not explain the slow reform of society and the army. The army, as an instrument of the state, was meant to keep the empire together. To change the face of the army was to change the face of society, and, at least for a time, conformance with tradition was sought after above all else. Furthermore, China’s method of reform was completely irregular. While she utilized western arms and equipment, she did not use western tactics. Her units were also irregularly armed, creating a huge supply problem during the Sino-French and Sino-Japanese towards the end of the century. By the end of the century, China had gone from traditional society to half of a modern power. Though she had bought western weapons and employed European military advisors, she was not an industrial power to speak of. Her efforts to reform were at most half hearted, unable to be reconciled with her attachment to Confucianism.

Throughout the Qing dynasty, the imperial army was arranged in the “traditional banner system,” which split the army into organization divisions based on ethnicity.1 This segregation split the imperial forces into twenty four divisions, or banners, eight for the Mongol, another eight for the Manchu, and a further eight banners for the Han Chinese.2 Banners were spread throughout China “with especially large garrisons located in the frontier regions in the north and in major cities along the Yangzi.”3 Though the army was split between the three ethnicities of Qing ruled lands, the real divide was between Qing Manchu and native Han Chinese. Manchu Bannermen lived separately from the rest of the Han populace, and had no peacetime role.4 While demobilized, Bannermen lived off of a stipend, and “were forbidden to practice any trade or craft that might interfere with their soldering,” but idleness led to atrophy of their soldiering ability.5 It certainly did not help that the stipend was fixed, not adjusting for inflation, leaving Bannermen to fend for themselves.6 The Qing had succeeded in keeping the Manchu and the Han separate, the goal of maintaining separate cultural identities achieved.7

Generally, the Han banners were called the Army of the Green Standard, which contained most of the imperial infantry.8 With these banners, the emperors of the seventeen hundreds expanded the Chinese empire to its greatest point.9 China, while it saw itself as a boundless empire, did not keep its armies in conquered territories. Instead, the Qing used vassal states’ armies to “quell border uprisings” and keep vassal populations in check, such as in Vietnam and Korea.10 There was, however, no military revolution for China despite her recent conquests.11 She fought for the first half of the nineteenth century much as she had when the Qing overthrew the Ming in the seventeenth century. Not only that, but the introduction of the bayonet went completely unnoticed by the Chinese army, which would prove disastrous in conflicts with the West.12 Prussia developed its general staff as China’s bureaucratic officer corps languished in corruption. The Qing, instead of reacting to the developments of Europe, instead did their utmost to hold on to the Han Chinese of southern China.13 Sticking to tradition was the mantra of Chinese administrators.

While Europe developed new ways of building artillery and ships, “the Far East remained apart, owing to Chinese and Japanese governmental policy which deliberately restricted European trade.”14 Mercantilist thinking, largely abandoned by the time of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, kept a stranglehold on the imperial court, and only small pieces of foreign technology slipped through the cracks of the Chinese embargo. The armaments of the Qing armies for the first half of the nineteenth century are laughable when compared to the weapons of the West. A European observer noted that the Chinese still used bows, spears, halberds, and protected themselves with armor made of iron, brass, or even chain mail.15 Field artillery was almost unheard of.16 The British in the First Opium War fought back with ironclad ships and percussion cap rifles.17 Thus did the imperial army enter the first half of the nineteenth century and her first conflict with the West, a bulwark of conservatism, mostly because she fought as she always had for the past two hundred years.

By the start of the nineteenth century, China had nearly 900,000 men under arms.18 To lead and maintain them was certainly no easy task. The Qing military bureaucracy mirrors that of the state bureaucracy: officials were admitted “because of their academic success in the Imperial Exams.”19 This comes as no surprise, as not only were Confucian ideals of bureaucracy kept intact by the invading Qing, but the army was seen as another “element of state control,” with most of its time spent “keeping China unified.”20 Native Chinese comprised most of the administrative bureaucracy, while the Manchu filled the top positions, holding the final say on all matters.21The Han-Manchu divide deepened. While the military was seen as essential for maintaining centralized power, the military was looked down upon.22 There was a preference for peace over war, keeping in line with the Confucian ideal of supreme moral authority.23 To make was to admit failure in upholding Confucian doctrine.24 The military philosophy of the state, which remained unchanged through all of the dynastic conflicts in Chinese history, saw a “close interconnection between the military and bureaucracy.”25 While they made fine administrators, the Mandarin bureaucrat had no “first hand knowledge of military affairs.”26 These men would run the Qing military machine, despite any real military training. The most they could say is that they had read Sun-Tzu, who still influenced Chinese military philosophy, as the British would see during the First Opium War.27 You could almost say they comprised a kind of general staff, though one that simply maintained the army, rather than develop new doctrines or furthered military planning. They certainly did not anticipate the coming changes in technology or tactics.

At first glance, the First Opium War (1839-1842) looks like a simple trade dispute, an unnecessary aggression by a greedy Western power. Such a simplistic view overlooks the strong ethnic tension between the Han and Manchu, as well as the mercantilist economic policies of the imperial Chinese government. Foreign trade was conducted in only once city, Canton, and foreign traders were limited in both where they could live, and who they could trade with.28 The opium trade, while officially banned, continued due to the incessant corruption of Canton’s bureaucrats and the collaboration of Chinese merchants.29 Interestingly, while the imperial overlords spouted off platitudes about the evils of opium, a healthy internal trade of Sichuan opium continued unfettered.30 The internal trade went ignored, however, as Commissioner Lin, an administrator deployed from Beijing, demanded the immediate handing over of all opium stocks, and the signed assurance from every foreign merchant that they would take no part in the immoral trade.31 For such demands, Lin received war. Ethnic tension played another great factor in not only sparking the Opium War, but affecting the conclusion. The Chinese merchants of canton were predominantly Han Chinese, and had some restrictions place on them when dealing with foreigners.32 It is not surprising when legions of Green Standard troops, composed of Han Chinese and led by Manchu officers, had great reluctance to fight the British.33 In fact, Han Chinese had “much more indignation against the Government’s opium policy than the foreigners.”34 The British would only gain the populace’s ire when English forces “looted and raped villages north of Canon.”35

The opening actions of the war centered on Canton and the surrounding countryside. The imperial navy, which consisted of the nearly two thousand year old design of the Junk, lost roughly seventy ships against Britain’s modern ships in the South China Sea.36 The Chinese plans for the war were astounding. At first, they planned to use ninja like divers to attack the British Navy, as well as trained monkeys and secret society assassins for land engagements.37 While their methods were antiquated, the Chinese army did show some flexibility near the war’s end, specifically in the navy, where they adopted “pivot mounted for cannon and gunboats driven by hand-propelled paddle wheels.”38 The adaptations amounted to little, however, as the British used mobile artillery and rockets to secure the area around Canton.39

Later, British weaponry would be put to good use in campaigning down the Yangtze, where they would face the much tougher Manchu Bannermen.40 As tough as the Manchu where, the British actually outnumbered them in most sieges, and would even kill themselves and their families before submitting to the “barbarian” west.41 The Yangtze campaign was mostly a series of sieges, due to the Chinese defensive mentality. This defensive mentality is often seen as one of the primary facets of Chinese military philosophy.42 Another contributing factor to the Qing defeat was the weakness of the Army of the Green Standard. While the Han Green Standard supplied the Qing with the majority of their infantry, it was tied to Manchu supply lines and depots in order to “keep the populace weak and divided.”43 In fact, the bureaucracy was set up to where several authorities had control of a province and its defense forces, leading to confusion and inaction.44 The consequences of ethnic control took its toll on the fighting and maneuvering ability of the imperial army. With Beijing cut off from the south due to the successful Yangzi campaign, the imperial court sued for peace, mostly for fear of a Han uprising in the southern provinces.45

China’s strategy-more than her tactics-doomed her from the start. The imperial court saw the British as no more than pirates, and committed limited resources.46 Even if China had seen Britain as the terrible power that she was, she would probably have committed the same level of resources. This was the product of Chinese military thinking, which was to “prolong the struggle” for as long as possible, and placate the enemy while expending as little resources as possible.47 Whatever the case, China had just lost her first war with the West. The war should have shocked China out of her conservatism and stagnation. On the contrary, the imperial government wrote off the war as a victory, and did not learn from the disastrous experiences of the Green Standard Army and the Manchu Bannermen.48 The Qing had a “myth of invincibility” about them, and despite losing far more men in engagements than the British, and took retreats as complete victories.49 Instead of looking to Europe for inspiration, the Qing looked inward at the ancient Confucian teachings for guidance.50 Interestingly, Commissioner Lin, the very man responsible for sparking the war in the first place, believed that China should have looked towards the west in order to obtain victory.51 Of course, China’s defeat at the hands of the British meant that his ideas wouldn’t count for much.52 The inward looking policy would be at least in part discarded when subsequent internal rebellion and a war with the West took its toll on the empire.

The rebellions of the nineteenth century did far more than the wars with the West not only in wrecking the Chinese economy, but instilling the need to reform amongst the imperial court. First and foremost was the Taping Rebellion, which lasted from 1850-1871. The First Opium War had opened up China to the West, as well as weakened the Qing dynasty on the whole. The ruling Manchu’s fear of a Han uprising was realized: the very same fear that the dynasty wished to placate by signing the treaty of Nanjing with the British. When the Christian Hong Xiuquan, a Han, rose up against the Manchu rulers with half a million men, the Qing could do little.53 After taking Nanjing, the Taipings became a force to be reckoned with. Not surprisingly, the Taipings used Sun-Tzu as their philosophical base: field battles were few and far between, with sieges becoming the norm of the rebellion.54 Siege was an old technique of protracting warfare, but it probably had more to do with the fact that “Peking had discovered how worthless the Manchu banner armies had become. It had been forced to resort to siege warfare.”55

The armies of the Qing dynasty were about to take one of the more interesting turns in their development. While the imperial army remained mostly unchanged until the “self strengthening” reforms, militias took to the forefront of adapting new technologies and tactics. The First Opium War had seen the development of a militia in Sanyuanli, but it was poorly armed and handily beaten by the British.56 For a time, both the Taipings and imperials fought in the old Chinese style, complete with old fashion weaponry and limited to siege warfare. The Taiping were willing to westernize, however, and had the European powers been sympathetic to their cause, the Taiping Rebellion could have further terrorized the Yangtze with steamships.57 After all, despite an adherence to the philosophy of Sun-Tzu, “the creed of the Taiping was profoundly anti-Confucian,” which would have allowed modernization along Western lines.58 Against such a mentality, the imperial government looked towards the provinces to furnish a new kind of army. The Manchu Bannermen were repeatedly beaten along the Yangtze, and militias became a “last resort.”59 The Xiang Army, which used recently developed arms, numbered about 20,000 men, and readily defeated Taiping army after army, which is more than the Mongol and Manchu banners of the imperial army could say.60 In Nianxiang, a militia was raised not only to deal with Taiping expeditions, but also local bandits.61 These militias were structured with the same hierarchy of the proper imperial army, which lead to an increase in the power of local bureaucrats.62 Militias started out small, but as the Taiping rebellion grew in strength, grew to great numbers. The militia of Hunan, which started out with 17,000 men in 1854 grew to 120,000 in 1860.63 Though the militias were numerous and may even have used some modern weaponry, their officer corps was still traditional. Tseng Kuo-fan, commander of the Hunan militia sought an officer corps with “moral character,” not unlike that demanded by Confucian texts.64

The development of local militias wrecked Qing control of the provinces. While they were eventually able quash the rebellion, the old bureaucracy would be changed forever. In 1860, amid the crisis of the rebellion, “a desperate court had made the leaders of the anti-Taiping armies the administrative heads of the provinces they were defending.”65 The age old Chinese policy of centralization was reversed to an almost feudal like order. These militias, after all, were completely dependent upon the local administrators for their livelihood, not the rulers in Beijing.66 Militias were mostly in the hands of a province’s gentry, not the bureaucrat, who saw military affairs as “derogatory of their stewardship.”67 A “private bureaucracy” was formed by militia commanders to take care of administrative duties, leading to independence from the Qing run bureaucracy.68 Commanders went even further to remove themselves from Qing dominance by funding their armies personally. A new tax called the likin was created in various provinces, a “transit tax on various commodities” that was not under Qing control.69 By the rebellion’s end, “the most powerful armed forces in China were under the command and personally loyal to the viceroys and governors.”70 Militias, instead of disbanding as usual, took over defense roles alongside the Green Standard and Banner armies amongst the provinces.71

A further consequence of the Taiping Rebellion was the creation of “Ever Victorious Army” in 1860. It is the first example of a modernized army directly controlled by the imperial court, not by the ruler of a province. The “Ever Victorious Army” started out as the “Foreign Rifles Company,” a band of European mercenaries.72 While the “Foreign Rifles” had little battlefield success, their commander, Frederick Ward, would be used as a military specialist by the Chinese government, and eventually made a Major General in the Chinese imperial army.73 The “Ever Victorious Army” was mostly native Chinese soldiers led by European officers in the pay of the empire.74 The Qing also put British steamships to use, ferrying imperial troops around China, and these forces were able to win field engagements against the Taiping.75 Where the “Foreign Rifles” failed, the new army succeeded, and along with the other militia armies, eliminated the Taiping rebels. By the rebellion’s end, more than twenty million people were dead.76

The Taipings were not alone in their revolutionary fervor. In Xinjiang, Muslim separatists threatened to reverse the conquests of the great Qianlong emperor during their revolt from 1862-1877. Rebellions adjacent to the Taiping would force the imperial government to deploy the much looked down upon Green Standard Army. As mentioned before, however, the Green Standard was decrepit, hardly able to hold its own in battle. The troops of the Nian Rebellion (1851-1868), on the other hand, made a fair use of western materiel.77 To make up for this deficit, the imperial court supplied Han troops with modern equipment, resulting in a diffusion of European arms throughout the whole of the Chinese empire in a manner unseen before.78 There was now something much more than an ethnic divide between the Manchu Bannermen and the Han Green Standard. Now, the Manchu were useless in modern combat, and the Han were now at least fairly competent in the use of western arms.79 Some units even used “British-trained rifleman.”80 Green Standard troops received a decent amount of training from British and French military advisors, with the Yunnan province using French military advisors exclusively.81 Despite the infusion of western military technology and advisors, the Chinese still refused to adopt western “military organization, strategy, and tactics.”82 Such a decision on the part of the Chinese bureaucracy would have dire consequences for future campaigns.

As rebellions flared in the provinces, foreign aggression would again plague the empire. The Arrow incident, “disdain for foreigners” by Chinese bureaucrats, and general opposition by European powers to Chinese trade policy led to the Second Opium War, which lasted from 1856-1860.83 Again, the empire would be greatly defeated, with the Europeans taking Beijing and infamously looting the summer palace of the emperor. While strategically China had not learned the lessons of the previous war, she had adapted some tactical innovations from her European aggressors. While the Chinese Navy was bashed by the British, Chinese naval commanders had better coordinated gun teams, and implemented elevation techniques for cannon fire as well as the idea of concentration of fire.84 As modern weapons went to fight the rebellious provinces, Europeans fought the more antiquated parts of the Imperial army. At Dagu, forts were defended with “pots filled with lime, round shot, arrows, crossbow bolts, and bunches of slugs fired from gingals.”85 Again, China would lose to the West, and forced to further open herself to trade with the West.

While the Chinese had mostly forgotten the lessons of the First Opium War, they would not lose the lessons of the Taiping Rebellion or its contemporary revolts. The Second Opium War, within the same time frame as the grand rebellions, must have come as a shock to the imperial court, as it was the first time that a European power had occupied Beijing. From such ashes would the “Self Strengthening Reforms” come about. Really, the self strengthening reforms started as the rebellions were in progress, exemplified by the attempts to reform some parts of the Green Standard Army, as well as further attempts to strengthen the provincial militias. The period of reform lasted from 1861 to 1894. The progenitor of the reforms was Li Hongzhang, a militia commander and eventually the Chinese equivalent of “prime minister.”86 He would gain power from his military experience, like other Chinese who now pushed aside the Manchu in upper administrative positions.87 With little success, reformers resolved that the Green Standard and Manchu Banner armies were too degraded to reform, and instead focused on the regional militias formed during the rebellions.88 The Chinese navy-which had for the first two Opium Wars been comprised of the antiquated junks-would catch up with the nineteenth century. During the course of the two wars, the Qing had no blue water fleet to speak of, only what amounted to a coast guard.89 The imperial court bought fifty steamships, forming China’s first modern navy.90 The Chinese at first only had the experiences of wooden paddlewheels from the end of the first war: it is impossible say that they were competent with the actual mechanics of a steamship. There was no central admiralty, no coordination between navies, and sailors received little training.91 The steamships purchased were not even same, so the new imperial navy had no level of standardization.92 Both French and English schools of naval thought were imported, leading to further fragmentation of the navy.93 Uniformity was discarded dangerously.

China did her best to modernize her army, but she did not do so in a uniform nor efficient way. Though modern arsenals were created at Jiangnan and Kiangnan, “the Qing state managed arsenals as bureaus within the traditional government, which lead to corruption and inefficiency.”94 An infamous example of such corruption was found when rounds for naval guns were discovered to be full of cement.95 What the Qing created at Jiangnan was very interesting. Warehouses were filled with industrial arms machines purchased from western industrialists (specifically Thomas Hunt & Co.), and used to manufacture arms for the imperial army.96 The real technical work, however, was not done by the Chinese themselves. The superintendant of the facility as well as all of the machinists were European.97 This brings up a rather large roadblock towards Chinese modernization. Even though Europeans were employed by the Chinese government, “for many years it was considered disgraceful for a Chinese to work for or with foreigners.”98 Industrial knowledge was thus kept in the hands of Europeans for time. After all, most Chinese believed that industrialization would profit foreigners more than their countryman.99 The Chinese army was modernized, but she was done so only through European hands, not by the Chinese themselves. It should be noted that while China had these great arsenals, most of China’s modern armaments were purchased from abroad. Chinese produced modern weapons were often of a lesser quality than their European rivals, and usually it was cheaper to buy from foreigners than to produce the weapons themselves.100 Arsenals, while machine shops at heart, also became great schools of industrial study and translation centers.101 In these great schools, linguists translated volumes of technical manuals from their European languages to Chinese.102 During its run the Jiangnan arsenal would be described by a contemporary as “one of the greatest arsenals of the world.”103

While industrial manuals were appreciated by some, the true emphasis of scholarly work still lied with the classics. A classical school was also attached to the arsenal, though kept separate from the industrial school.104 Even though industrial studies were necessary for the defense of the nation, the Chinese did not look at them as such. Instead, the study of the classics was seen as the more prestigious, probably because of their importance in the imperial exams.105 Another explanation is the Chinese experience with foreigners themselves. Even though “foreign techniques were desirable,” violence targeted at Chinese in the United States created a view that modernization could only be done “within the Confucian ethic and learning.”106 Classical studies, necessary for the imperial exams, were the “ultimate solutions in the persistent cultivation of the superior man.”107

The first test of the “Self Strengthening Reforms” came with the Sino-French War of 1884-1885. France, in her lust for foreign territory, set her sights on Annam, or Vietnam, vassal to the Chinese emperor. The Chinese Navy was easily beaten. Where the French had a unified navy, China did not. Multiple fleets had been created, but none were under a unified command.108 Some fleets simply refused to fight the French and aid their comrades.109 On land, field battles were somewhat small affairs. They involved only a few thousand troops, though casualties were relatively high for the Chinese.110 Disease proved more potent than French guns.111 In the end, China would lose Vietnam. Though she had attempted to reform her army, it was not yet strong enough to contend with the West.

The real test of the reforms came with the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. In this particular conflict, the Japanese wished for China’s hold on Korea to end. After some maneuver, the major action of the war, the Battle of Pyongyang, was reached. There, the Yuai Army, commanded by Li Hongzhang, the esteemed imperial commander in the Taiping rebellion and reformer, dug in to face the coming Japanese. The Yuai army was not the army of the past. The army, numbering nearly fourteen thousand, used Winchester rifles, and even machine guns.112 While they had modern weapons, there was a problem, traceable to the patter of Chinese reform. Weapons had no uniform standard (Winchester rifles were but one type of rifle used).113 As the Qing had to supply a round for different kinds of weapons, supply became a problem.114 Surprisingly, the Yuai army appeared only half modernized. Cavalry still used lances, and Chinese methods of warfare remained largely unchanged, despite the use of modern equipment.115 Some Chinese generals even trained in the west, Such as Song Jian, but there lessons were not good enough to defeat the Japanese on land.116 The Japanese, with their fully modern army and with western tactical innovations, handily beat the Chinese. When defending Korean fortress rings, the Chinese had no coordination, and Japanese assault groups could simply take one fort at a time.117 At Jiuliancheng, Japan used the all too European flank attack, and dealt a blow to the Chinese army in Korea.118 The flanking maneuver was a consistent technique used throughout the war by the Japanese. China was still trapped in her old ways, evidenced at Kaiping when the imperial army used an old technique of freezing a stream to befuddle Japanese movements.119

The naval front was also disastrous for the Chinese. Overall, the Chinese had the larger fleet, but still lost every nearly every naval engagement.120 The events of the Sino-French War a decade ago caught up with the navies who refused to fight the French: the Beiyang fleet was alone, despite China possessing nearly twice as many ships than the Japanese.121 Because of the treachery of the other fleets, at any one time China could only field twenty five ships against Japan’s twenty one.122 Japanese ships, while they had less tonnage than most Chinese ships, were faster and more maneuverable.123 When the rival navies engaged, this proved an invaluable asset.124 After several engagements with the Japanese Navy, the Beiyang fleet, battered and defeated, surrendered itself to the Japanese. Naval reform had the same results as army reform.

The First Sino-Japanese had dealt serious damage to whatever self confidence the reformers had. What was it that caused China to fail? She had modernized her army, and had an army unfathomably larger than the Japanese. How did the Japanese pull off such a victory? First, there was the old bureaucratic ideal of utilizing resources as little as possible. Nearly 800,000 men constituted the Imperial army, but relatively few men were utilized, which allowed Japan’s 70,000 man army to concentrate and destroy the armies defending Korea piecemeal.125 Li Hongzhang, the great crusher of rebellions and reformer, said outright that “the less we use our armed forces, the less we will need to spend on military purposes.”126 It was this kind of penny pinching attitude that doomed Chinese military efforts. As mentioned before, the Chinese used the age old strategy of prolonging conflict as long as possible, committing as little resources as possible while wearing down the enemy. This endeared China to the art of siege warfare, as “a prolonged siege was likely to cause logistical problems for the attacking army, and that the longer the battle, the more likely the attacking army would become exhausted.”127 Japanese assault forces, however, would not become too exhausted. Another factor was lackluster Chinese preparations. While war loomed, China could not sacrifice a peaceful settlement and arm at the same time, as the European powers were sure to become hostile towards the empire.128

This does not mean, however, that China went into the conflict without some proper equipment. As the war began, “the Chinese armies were on the whole very well equipped,” using Mauser breech-loaders and Krupp artillery.129 Generally, Chinese infantry armaments were roughly on par with the Japanese.130 The problem was that armaments were not uniform. Different men in the same unit, for example, might use different kinds of rifles, and require different standards in ammunition.131 Lack of training was another factor in her defeat. There are terrible examples of artillerymen unable to load their guns, and “there were reports that the Chinese soldiers simply did not know how to use their weapons.”132 Poor accuracy crippled Chinese forces.133 Training issues can be boiled down to both an ineffective officer corps and simple neglect. Few officers were trained in Western ways, efforts were “small and sporadic.”134 Officer academies had only been established by the end of the Sino-French War, and only two academies serviced the whole of the Chinese army.135

While contemporaries viewed Chinese generals as heroic and competent, the officers stifled the implementation of proper Western drill.136 Confucian ideals “had nothing to do with military leadership and front-line leadership.”137 Simply put, Chinese officers thought themselves above the military specialization required by the modern general staff. The Grand Secretary Wo-Jen “had never heard of anyone using ‘mathematics to raise a nation from a state of decline or to strengthen it in time of weakness.’”138 Obviously, he had heard wrong. Instead of using actual western equipment in the drilling process, “many drill exercises were still conducted with spears.”139 Poor drill led to poor morale, as few units had any primary group cohesion to speak of.140 It was not uncommon for troops to just run at the very sight of Japanese forces.141 The Lianjun, or Green Standard reformed troops, proved ineffective, and usually only “half-reformed,” lacking the equipment of the other imperial armies.142 The better known Beiyang army, the flagship so to speak of Chinese reform, could at best field thirty thousand troops, and was severely hit by budget cuts that limited its expansion.143 This last case of failure must be examined closer.

The real failure of China’s effort to reform in the nineteenth century boils down to money. It represents both the cause and effect of China’s troubles throughout the era. When the century opened, no one can doubt China’s might in the economic sphere. By the close of the nineteenth century she would be a wreck, a shadow of what she once was. What happened? How did she get way? Her ills can be attributed to the triton of corruption, fragmentation, and devastation. For the first half of the century, China funded her wars through imperial tax surpluses, which fit in quite nicely with her philosophy of spending as little as possible on war.144 These surpluses, as did most of her revenue, came from land taxes levied throughout all of China, which decreased roughly fifty percent over the course of the century.145 At best, nearly half of the government’s revenue went towards maintaining the army.146 This proved disastrous on two fronts. First, a corrupt bureaucracy allowed “forced crop payments, the pocketing of bribes, fraudulent land registrations (production, land registered as waste land), illegal imports,” etc.147 Second, the devastation of the huge rebellions and wars with Europeans shattered and devastated the fertile grounds of the homeland.148 The Taiping rebellion, which had caused tens of millions of deaths, destroyed the Yangtze river valley. The Opium Wars ravaged the productive lands of southern China. The population, despite devastation, nearly quadrupled from 143 million to 430 million over the course of the century from 1750-1850, leading to further decreased revenues.149 To counter lost revenue, a sales tax was implemented, though low tariffs forced by treaties and increased smuggling lead to decreased revenues either way.150 Lower revenue coupled with large amounts of debts owed to foreign powers to settle indemnities crippled Qing efforts.151 In effect, the Confucian bureaucrats had to cut corners, leading to the only partially reformed armies of the First Sino-Japanese War.

The final spear into the reform effort was the fragmentation of the beloved Chinese bureaucracy. Throughout her history, China had heavily centralized, at least more so than her contemporaries, but, as mentioned previously “in 1860 a desperate Court had made the leaders of the anti-Taiping armies the administrative heads of the provinces they were defending.”152 The ramification of such an act led to the further decline of tax revenues, as “the quasi-autonomous provincial leaders withheld a large part of the Imperial tax revenue.”153 The likin used to fund the provincial armies never went into Qing coffers. The Qing dynasty simply did not have the necessary funds to reform their army like the European powers.

The rest of the century saw a renewed fervor of reform. Li Hongzhang fell from grace, but others took his place in pushing the Qing dynasty for reform.154 A scholar, Kang Youwei, reinterpreted Confucian texts in such a way that reconciled Confucian thought with modern reform.155 The Guangxu Emperor lent a sympathetic year, and initiated the “Hundred Days,” a period of reform where the Emperor hoped to reform Chinese society through a series of decrees.156 Curiously, the military went unnoticed.157 Unfortunately for reformists, the Hundred Days led to a conservative coup by the Dowager Cixi.158 Reform would be subdued by continued conservatism for the time being. With China’s loss came Europe’s gain. Because of China’s military disarray, European powers demanded huge concessions, gaining nearly virtual control of several ports and “hinterland” provinces.159 The century closed with China bowing to foreign powers.

The nineteenth century had not been good to China. At first she was at her highest territorial point, but at the last she would be the servant of foreign interests. War, of course, had been the cause of all of this. Most of China’s history had been spent subjugating Asian powers through conquest, all the way up to the conquests of the Qianlong emperor. Now, it was her turn to be subjugated. When the First Opium War broke out, China was full of herself. She believed herself invincible, her enemies mere barbarians. A decrepit military and an antiquated strategy would doom China’s military ambitions and defense. The Qing committed a limited amount of resources, and never brought down the full weight of the imperial army. Even if she did, Britain would probably have escalated, and China was backwards enough in technology that numbers alone would not have conferred a great enough advantage. The Bannermen and Green Standard Army were incapable of mounting an adequate defense. The empire would come out of the war humiliated, though the dynasty would not learn the lessons from the conflict. What adaptations she made were few and far between. The First Opium War would have huge ramifications, despite China’s attempts to view the conflict as a victory. The Taipings would rise up and cause huge problems for the ruling Manchu, devastating the Yangtze river valley and adjacent provinces. More rebellions would follow, including a follow up war with foreigners.

The consequences of the rebellion were far greater than the opium war. Provincial militias were created and grew in strength, to the point where collectively they rivaled the banner armies. They did not, however, rival foreign armies. The militias had modern weapons, but training was lackluster at best. A poorly trained and unwilling officer corps exacerbated problems. China fractured, though not to the point that she would in the twentieth century. Provincial governors, once the administrative puppets of the ruling Qing, became military leaders, and gained virtual autonomy from the dynasty. The ruling Manchu was pushed aside, and the Han Chinese took back their old positions of authority in the bureaucracy, though a Manchu and his cohorts still held the imperial throne. Corrupt bureaucrats throttled back needed tax revenues, and further tarnished the imperial army’s fighting ability. Nothing really went right for China, especially in the military. Against Japan-once seen as an upstart island-modernized Chinese forces would prove ill-prepared. Japan had absorbed most of the lessons taught by European powers, China had not. Li Hongzhang built several arsenals and schools to educate China, but foreign teachings were looked down upon. Confucian teachings reigned supreme. While this might have been well and good for administrative practices, it stifled military reform. Foreign techniques were shunned, and industrialization on the scale of the European powers went unrealized. It would take a defeat at the hands of Japan to instill the need to reform. Even then, the Hundred Days of reform passed with the end result being a conservative reaction and the placement of the old Dowager Cixi at the head of the Chinese government. Reform would have to wait for the twentieth century. The twentieth century would put an end to China’s false sense of complacency. China made the mistake throughout the nineteenth century of resting on her laurels. The titan of Asia was to be no more, reduced to a mere puppet on the hand of European powers. Her army had decayed, and despite her best efforts, remained ineffective. The Banner armies proved useless, the provincial militia rising to take its place. Such developments foreshadowed a terrible destiny, when China would devolve into war with herself and foreigners: dark days which have few if any parallels.

Endnotes

1Bruce A. Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare: 1795-1989 (New York: 2001), p 5.

2Ibid.

3Ibid.

4David B. Ralston, Importing the European Army: The Introduction of European Techniques and Institutions into the Extra-European World, 1600-1914 (Chicago: 1990), p 109.

5Ibid.

6Ibid.

7Ibid.

8Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 5.

9Ibid, p 4.

10Ibid, p 5.

11Ibid, p 4.

12Ibid, p 3.

13Ibid, p 5.

14Ibid, p 4.

15Ibid, p 6.

16Ibid.

17Ibid, p 13.

18Ibid, p 5.

19Ibid.

20Ibid, p 5-6.

21Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 108.

22Ibid, p 107-108.

23Ibid, p 108.

24Ibid.

25Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 7.

26Ibid, p 5.

27Ibid.

28John A. Harrison, China Since 1800 (New York: 1967), p 14-15.

29Ibid, p 15, 24.

30Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 14.

31Harrison, China, p 18.

32Ibid, p 14-15.

33Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 14.

34Harrison, China, p 20.

35Ibid.

36Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 23.

37Ibid, p 27.

38Ibid, p 26.

39Ibid, p 25-26.

40Ibid, p 29.

41Ibid, p 30.

42Ibid, p 7.

43Ibid, p 33.

44Ibid.

45Ibid, p 31.

46Ibid, p 27.

47Ibid.

48Ibid, p 15.

49Ibid, p 18.

50Ibid, p 32.

51Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 115.

52Ibid.

53Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 35-42.

54Ibid, p 35-44.

55Harrison, China, p 39.

56Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 23.

57Ibid, p 53.

58Ibid, Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 111.

59Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 44.

60Ibid.

61Edward A. McCord, “Militia and Local Militarization in Late Qing and Early Republican China” in Warfare in China Since 1600, ed. Kenneth Swoop (Burlington VT: 2005), p 219.

62Ibid, p 216.

63Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 113.

64Ibid, p 112.

65Harrison, China, p 42-43.

66Ibid.

67Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 111.

68Ibid, p 113-114.

69Ibid, p 112-113.

70Harrison, China, p 42-43.

71Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 113-114.

72Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 53.

73Ibid, p 54-55.

74Ibid.

75Ibid.

76Ibid, p 55.

77Ibid, p 61.

78Ibid, p 57-58.

79Ibid, p 58.

80Ibid, p 63.

81Ibid, p 64.

82Ibid, p 75.

83Lawrence James, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: 1994), p 238.

84Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 48-49.

85Ibid, p 50.

86Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 119.

87Ibid, p 115.

88Ibid, p 119.

89Benjamin A. Elman, “Naval Warfare and the Refraction of China’s Self-Strengthening Reforms into Scientific and Technological Failure: 1865-1895” in Warfare in China Since 1600 ed. Kenneth Swoop (Burlington VT: 2005), p 148-149.

90Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 86.

91Ibid, p 87.

92Ibid, p 86.

93Elman, “Naval Warfare,” p 161.

94Ibid, p 150.

95Ibid, p 182.

96Ibid, p 153.

97Ibid, p 154.

98Harrison, China, p 53.

99Ibid.

100Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 118.

101Elman, “Naval Warfare,” p 156.

102Ibid.

103Ibid, p 154.

104Ibid, p 155.

105Ibid.

106Harrison, China, p 52.

107Ibid.

108Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 101-102.

109Ibid.

110Ibid, p 87-88.

111Ibid, p 89.

112Ibid, p 99.

113Ibid.

114Ibid.

115Ibid.

116Ibid, p 104.

117Ibid, p 108.

118Ibid, p 105.

119Ibid, p 110.

120Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 102, 112.

121Ibid, p 101-102.

122Ibid, p 102.

123Ibid.

124Ibid.

125Allen Fung, “Testing the Self-Strengthening: The Chinese Army in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895” in Warfare in China Since 1600 ed. Kenneth Swoop (Burlington VT: 2005), p 208.

126Ibid, p 194.

127Ibid, p 201.

128Ibid, p 196.

129Ibid, p 198.

130Ibid.

131Ibid, p 198-199.

132Ibid, p 204.

133Ibid, p 205.

134Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 122.

135Ibid.

136Fung, “Testing the Self-Strengthening,” p 205.

137Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 124-125.

138Ibid, p 126.

139Fung, “Testing the Self Strengthening,” p 205.

140Ibid, p 206.

141Ibid.

142Ibid, p 209.

143Ibid, p 210.

144Harrison, China, p 32.

145Ibid.

146Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 110.

147Harrison, China, p 33.

148Elleman, Modern Chinese Warfare, p 35-42.

149Harrison, China, p 31.

150Ibid, p 32-33.

151Ibid, p 72.

152Ibid, p 42-43.

153Ibid, p 53.

154Ralston, Importing the European Army, p 127.

155Ibid.

156Ibid.

157Ibid.

158Ibid.

159Ibid, p 218.

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