Taiping Rebellion

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Q. Critically analyze the nature of Taiping Movement. Is it correct to say that Taiping Movement was a revolution and not a rebellion? The Taiping Movement (1851-1864) is the biggest peasant uprising in Chinese history and one of the greatest peasant rebellions in world history. It was directed primarily against the feudal rule of the Manchu dynasty. Its impact was so great that it shook the Manchu Dynasty to its roots and the threats faced by Western Powers, seemed like a minor problem in comparison. Also, it stood at a juncture of two centuries. In its origins, ideology, programmes as well as weaknesses, it contained elements of old social, political and culture order as well as ideas of new China. It had three major effects: it transferred the military power from the Manchu gentry to Chinese warlords because the Qing government had to mobilize local Chinese army to fight the Taiping; it decentralized China and gave more political and economic power to local authorities; it aroused anti-Manchu sentiment and led to the demise of Qing Dynasty and the restoration of the Chinese nation forty eight years after its failure. Also, a number of scholars both Chinese and western, have debated over nature of Taiping Movement and that whether it should be referred to as a Revolution or Rebellion. Jean Chesneaux characterizes The Taiping Movement in 3 ways: 1) Anti-Manchu as it attacked ruling dynasty and the Western Powers which were creeping in China after the Treaty of Nanking. 2) Anti-Confucius, as it combined popular Chinese cults and borrowed ideas from Christianity. 3) A social protest, for it not only shook Feudalism in China but also stood for emancipation of women. Manchu rule was the rule of a conquering dynasty named the Ch’ing or Qing that had overthrown the indigenous Ming dynasty. After 150 years of Qing rule, symptoms of social, economic crisis, political disorder began to manifest itself in 19th century China. A familiar pattern of growing discontent,...
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