Decline of the Qing Dynasty

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Writing Assignment 4 During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Qing dynasty began to fall from power as popular dissatisfaction began to rise through out China. Though there are many causes for its decline, the major reasons for the Qing demise lie with the country’s addiction to opium, western imperialism, and popular uprisings within the country. Events such as the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion were major contributing factors that caused the Qing dynasty to fail after ruling China for over 250 years. Beginning in 1839 the First Opium War broke out in China as the British refused to stop bringing opium into China. Despite China attempting to completely control trade with the west within its own boarders, the British maneuvered their way around this agreement by “sending their compradors inland with large stocks of opium that could be exchanged for upcountry tea or Soochow silk.” Around this time, the British were selling roughly 1,400 tons of opium to China per year, despite the sale and use of opium being illegal since 1731. This angered the Qing dynasty, because it was “proved beyond doubt that opium addiction in certain parts of the army had become so serious that the troops were incapable of combat.” By the 1830s the rapid growth of opium imports had reversed China’s balance of trade, producing an outflow of silver and severe currency problems.With their military becoming weaker by the day due to opium addicted soldiers, in 1838, the Emperor of China appointed a highly Confucian commissioner, Lin Zexu to control the opium trade at the port of Canton. His first decision as commissioner was to enforce the permanent halt of drug shipments to China. However, when the British refused, Lin blockaded the British traders in their factories and cut off their food supply. Outraged by the actions of the Chinese, the British sent a large
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