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Week 3 Lecture Notes

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EH207: Topic 3: Ideology and Institutions - Chronology, Periodization and Overall Trend

Topic 3: Ideology and Institutions - Chronology, Periodization and Overall Trend 19th Century China

Kangxi and Qianlong o Well respected, hardworking and intelligent emperors of the previous century o In contrast to 19th Century who were corrupt The Opium War was eminent o Monetary and fiscal decline o China relied on silver from South America
 Supplies constrained with collapse of Spanish empire o Britain found it unsuitable to ship large amounts of silver from Europe
 Instead began to ship opium from India in exchange for silver
 Further constraining silver supply o Constraints of silver led to problems with tax collection
 Farmers were unhappy to pay in silver, which was dramatically increasing in value o In response, the government began to sell official ranks in return for silver
 Against the tradition of civil examination system
 Broke trust and principles in the bureaucracy China conceded Hong Kong o Although it was only rocks in the ocean back then Also opened up treaty ports o China was previously very closed Chinas response to the opium/silver problem was slow China could not grasp the concept of western politics o Not used to warring nations and foreign competition 19th century also so an increase in natural disasters and more frequent rebellion

The Challenge and Response Framework

Most prominent framework of studying Chinese history since Opium war o Highly influential and effective "Western challenge and Chinese response" Advocated by John King Fairbank Modern Chinese challenge was to search for an ideology and institutional response to the Western imperialism Has some critics o Paul Cohen et al. argue that it neglects:
 Internal dynamism
 The backlash against Western influence o Overemphasizes external factors o Western influence had huge regional variation

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