Sun Yat-Sen's Role in China's 1911 Revolution

Pages: 5 (1792 words) Published: October 19, 2014
Though he did not directly defeat the Manchu dynasty, the revolutionary leader, Sun-Yet-sen significantly influenced the 1911 revolution movement in China. Sun was a leading figure from 1900 to 1924, he proactively opposed the Constitutional Manchu monarch, 1644-1912, and is recognised for his contribution to the nationalist revolution and westernise thinking that formed the republic of China. He is most famously recognised for his Three People’s Principle’s; nationalism, democracy and the people’s livelihood, the founding principles of Modern China. Sun-Yet-sen effectively galvanized an insurgency amongst the Chinese people through his alliance and heading of an amalgam of revolutionary societies. However it is argued The Father of Modern China, is overvalued to this title, criticised for his lack of influence to the 1911 revolution and The Railway Recovery movement, a pivotal period leading up to the 1911 revolution. The imperial government had previously failed in its reforms to modernise China , though it is argued China was bound to revolution as seen through movements in China’s history, the 1911 movement would have failed or been insufficient without a motivational and ambitious forerunner such as Sun-Yat-sen. Sun Yat-sen is revered as The Father of Modern China largely through his Three People’s principles that emphasise his understanding of the Chinese people and interpretation of western policies. As Sun became increasingly aware of imperial and foreign oppression and it’s demising effect on China he developed the principles of nationalism, people’s sovereignty and of the people’s livelihood to transform China into a free, prosperous and powerful nation . Sun Yat-sen emerged as an unlikely revolutionary leader, as his birth into a proletarian family near Guangzhou, in southern China restricted his political influence, historian G. Leonard explains "he had no government experience, or official contacts" . However Sun's early western education and foreign experience in Hawaii and Japan convinced him that modernisation was possible for China only if it adopted progressive western political and economic concepts . Historian Michael Lynch evaluates China’s emphasis on their traditional culture and their “concept of living in the past” . He explains “What was wanted was mainly a government that would represent the practical Chinese

needs of the people.” As an educated provincial Sun had the ability to sympathise and comprehend the needs of the majority of China and develop an opposing view to the imperial system. Sun strongly believed the combination of oppression and imperialism by monarchical and foreign powers deprived the Chinese from developing, “The living problems of Chinese people are daily pressing, the unemployed are daily increasing, and the country’s power is, in consequence, steadily weakening ”. It is here that Sun draws on his first principle, Nationalism. He primarily eliminates foreign and Qing powers dominating China and focuses on uniting China among divergent groups. Within his second and last principle, Democracy, suggested by Sun as “popular sovereignty ” and people’s livelihood Sun idealised the combination of western practices and Chinese values modelled on a democratic government . Sun had drawn on these principles from a number of writers and policies, inspired “from the European social democracy” . He founded the goals of Modern China through advocating the political, economic and social rights of the Chinese people . In his 1924 speech The Principle of Democracy, he states “That great power will be placed entirely in the hands of the people who will have sovereignty and will be able to control directly the affairs of state. ” The Three Principles serve as the basic goals of the Republic of China highlighting Sun’s understanding of the people and his potential as a leader as seen through his alliance of revolutionary societies.

It is argued amongst historians Sun and his...
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