Reforms Of The Qing Dynasty And The Meiji Japan Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Reforms, Politics, Japan, China, Law, Aliens, Education, Army

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/03

The empire of the great Qing was the last imperial dynasty in China that ruled from the year 1644 to 1912 (Von et al., 2013). It was a multicultural empire that lasted for about three centuries and went ahead to form the territorial base of the modern Chinese state. The Dynasty opened up China to foreigners that eventually presented two ways of dealing with the West. One way was by strengthening China through peaceful reforms, and the other was by driving out foreigners by use of force. There was a group referred to as the boxers who tried to resist but failed making resistance not be a viable option. Reforms were thus considered as the only viable option towards dealing with the west. In Japan, there was a social revolution that occurred between 1866 and1869 that ended the reign of Tokugawa Shogun called the Meiji Restoration. Meiji Emperor became an important part of the empire as it acted as the figurehead of the reforms.
There were a number of reforms initiated by the Qing Dynasty that included the introduction of new offices by way of doing away with older weaknesses (Von et al., 2013).This involved sacking of servants and clerks considered useless within the government. The avenues for corruption that had existed earlier were also sealed especially in the area of sales of official posts with the old Green Standard Army significantly reduced. The military and civil public examination that was a common practice was also abolished making the dynasty lay ground for the creation of a new and centralized system of governance. New political organs were to supervise and execute the proposed reform programs that eventually led to the formation of a superintendence of political affairs.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Education and the Bureau of Military Training was also formed to offer better services as opposed to the previous ones. Military reforms were also eminent in the kingdom as the dynasty took to creating new regional armies. The sizes of the armies increased that created a new challenge of financial constraints to the armies. To contend with this, the provinces had to develop their army units at the expense of the locals so as to manage their own affairs (Von et al., 2013). The Bureau of Military Training was also created as a way of coordinating and managing all the affairs of the army units to function as a unit. With time, the size of the army increased to 200,000 by the end of 1911 which was double the size of the army at the start of the revolution. Manchu courts were also created with the sole responsibility of centralizing the local armies to form a strong national army. To achieve this, Manchu commanders sent out to replace the commanders that were in Yuan’s Peiyang armies. Peking also sent representatives to the provincial armies and an imperial guard unit under the control of Manchu control.
There were also educational reforms aimed at preserving the Chinese culture that would help in service delivery, inculcate patriotism and promote higher social literacy (Von et al., 2013). To achieve this, the traditional provincial academies had to change to new schools based on the Japanese model that heavily relied on resources from Japan. The curriculum had both traditional Chinese classics and modern Western subjects. It was taught with a view to change from the eight-legged essay to more current topics. Students were sent abroad from different provinces to acquire better skills and bring back home to develop their nation. Gradually, the curriculum was further modified and targeted towards arousing patriotism among the citizens especially the students at schools. Political reforms were also undertaken with the adoption of constitutional and representative rule regarded as a good tool for unifying the people since all the strong allies of China had constitutions.
The dynasty hoped to reduce conflict with the western nations that preferred constitutionalism as a way of governance (Von et al., 2013). This would help it better suppress internal rebellion that would see it gain support of the people as they would feel represented in politics. The constitution allowed their participation in political matters either through elections. Economic reforms that were undertaken included encouraging Chinese capitalists to set up indigenous industries such as banks that were to liberate China from exploitation from the West. Legal reforms were also instituted in the criminal justice system such as the abolishment of corporal punishment, slavery, and torture among other uncivilized practices. Law schools, courts, and the Ministry of Justice were also established to help entrench justice within the system. The Meiji reform changed the Japanese nation from a militarily weak country with the primary focus shifting from agriculture and little technological development to a relatively industrial nation.
Japan was forced to sign treaties that had made it end up with limited control over its foreign trade making it need reforms (Von et al., 2013).By the end of the Meiji period, quite a number of reforms were witnessed in various sectors. The economic reforms included land and tax reforms that saw the legal ownership of land transferred to the peasants with the fixed annual tax introduced and levied on the value of land. Land as a factor of production changed from the hands of a few and made more available to the citizens leading to the agricultural revolution. The government revolutionized transport and communication by building railway and shipping lines. Other industries such as the sugar, textile and chemical industries were also established that formed the basis for industrialization in Japan. To improve these sectors, the Japanese had to import Western technology that would see it develop its military and industries with the state giving subsidies to encourage new industries.
There was also the introduction of a national educational system that entrenched the constitution and saw the creation of the position of an elected president (Von et al., 2013). This enabled the ruling class to create a good environment for national growth. It also enabled them gain the respect of the Westerner countries and by the time the Meiji revolution came to an end, a number of Japanese children had already attended free public schools for at least six years. There was also moral training, which became mandatory, which instilled patriotism in the children. At the end of the reforms, there was a highly centralized bureaucratic government with a well-developed transport and communication system. There was also an established and rapidly expanding industrial sector that explored latest technology. The army and navy had also grown stronger as well as the constitution being stronger when compared to the earlier structures that existed.
The Meiji revolution emerged as a better reform agenda for the country as opposed to the traditional ideologies as it led to conducting business in a more modern way (Von et al., 2013). This saw Japan become a successful industrial and capitalist state that compete with the Western countries for resources and markets across the world that went ahead to offer great competition to the Western countries. The reforms of the Qing Dynasty did not produce many revolutions of the society because of power struggles within the Manchu court. There were also conservative reactions from people that had self-interest that derailed educational and political reforms. Lack of a stronger political power made the success of the reform process minimal.


Von, S. P. (2013) Patterns of World History: Brief Edition

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