Essay: The Effects of the Taiping Rebellion on China

Sample Essay

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This essay discusses the effects of the Taiping Rebelion on China. Beginning in the southernmost parts of China, The Great Taiping Rebellion arose due to the disgraces suffered during the Opium War and a crushing famine that occurred from 1846 to 1848. It was the southern region of China that suffered the gravest social effects from the opium trade and was the Qing’s weakest military hold.

Introduction

Beginning in the southernmost parts of China, The Great Taiping Rebellion arose due to the disgraces suffered during the Opium War and a crushing famine that occurred from 1846 to 1848. It was the southern region of China that suffered the gravest social effects from the opium trade and was the Qing’s weakest military hold.

The Qing Dynasty ruled China for over 250 years, but they were not always strong leaders. The Qing was unable to stop foreigners from taking over parts of the empire. They also had to withstand the Taiping Rebellion, a civil war that cost over twenty million lives and permanently weakened the dynasty. (The Taiping Rebellion)

The leader of the rebellion, Hong Xiuquan, was a misinformed and slightly delusional Christian practitioner who, after minimal Christian teachings, came to believe he was the younger brother of Jesus and God had called upon him to save mankind. His focus was not on the goodness of biblical teachings but rather on “the chosen few who with God’s help had rebelled against oppression”.  He preached the righteousness of wrath in overcoming oppression. Hong and his six appointed activists ultimately led half of the rebel elements in China. Their ritualistic beliefs and practices, including praying and singing, resulted in a religious mass geared for war.  The Taiping Tianguo, as they called themselves, attracted new recruits through goodwill to the common man, an extreme dedication to the cause and, for some, fear. In defiance of the Qing requirement to have a shaved forehead and braided ponytail, the Taiping Tianguo allowed their hair to grow long and wild.  As it turned out, the Taiping Rebellion became part of a civil war during which fighting between many factions broke out.  The civil war took a severe toll on life and property. A change of Qing leadership and policy were ultimately required before the Qing was able to restore their power and squash the rebellion.

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