The Taiping Rebellion HIstory
This change to the culture of China was ultimately on of the main causes of failure for the rebellion. The Tapping was just looking for too big of a change in society than all the people of the country were ready to unite around at that point in time. The ideals of this rebellion were fueled by a new religion that shaped everything they stood for that was so different from traditional China. The new thought of Christianity, too many peasants, was a very hard concept to decide to grasp in their positions.
The failure of the Tapping was just as much about military shortcomings as it was the inability to gain full trust and belief of the people. The foreign powers did not trust the Tapping regime, and that made it even harder for them to overthrow the Munch leadership. The Tapping Rebellion ultimately failed due to their attempt to change Chinese traditions and their failed attempt to gain the trust of other military powers. The Tapping rebellion’s failure can in part be contributed to their attempted change to the nation’s religious views. They sought to make Christianity the religious power in China.
Christianity was a big change for the people of China because all they had ever known was Confucianism. The Tapping society was created by a elisions atmosphere. Everything they were and fought for started with God. They believed that with faith would come prosperity. “God was considered to have a more intimate relation to man than merely that of a creator. He was the father of all mankind, and like an earthly father he was vitally concerned with the affairs of his children. “l The belief that he was actually the father of all of mankind shows how the Tapping used religion to dictate their every move.
This new thought was a problem for them because how different it was. This thought of one father eliminates the Confucius structure that had acetated so much of the Chinese history. They also believed that God was the father of a man’s soul, which “he caused to enter the womb of a woman and be born with a mortal body. ” The belief that everyone is truly of one family was such a shock to the people of China, which made it hard to gather behind this rebellion. People were not so easily able to give up the traditions that formed the identity of who they were as people of China.
Although people were disturbed by the belief that God is the father of all men, there was more to the religious change that made the people scared. The mere fact Hung Hiss-chuan, the leader of the Tapping rebellion, thought that Christianity was a “battle between God and the devil”2 and that it was the core value behind what he believed to be his mission troubled the people. “It was his mission to fight for God and to kill the demons or send them to hell… The demons were all those who refused to accept God’s will, and in Hung mind, especially the Munches. 3 In the beginning this “simplified righteousness” was just what the people needed to inspire a rebellious movement. However, as time went on the people began to believe that this religion was being used to fuel Hang’s arsenal ambitions instead. The concrete suggestion of change to society through religion did offer hope to many people at first but in time that would change. The Tapping had trouble finding a balance between good change and too much change. By creating a base of a rebellion on such a debatable subject like a religion, gaining the full support needed to overthrow a powerful government like the King very difficult.
In addition to religion, the Tapping Rebellion looked to eliminate gender inequality from the identity of China. The leadership was very unyielding on their views towards inequality. They believed that men and women were the same and that they deserve the same benefits. They created a doctrine on this and stated that land should be given to people based On the number Of people in each family no matter what gender they are. This same doctrine also contained writing that said both sexes receive land at the age of sixteen. Land was seen as the largest form of currency to the Chinese during this period so this was a very life altering document.
This change was especially effective in gaining the support of women however was the opposite of many men who could help the rebellion. The issue here was not gaining supporters but was gaining the full support of the people, which is what a rebellion needs to succeed. To show how strong his opinion was on gender equality Hung Hiss-chuan even wrote a letter to the President of the united States. I have heard that your country emphasizes the importance of the people, that in everything they are considered equal, that freedom is your fundamental principle, and that there are no obstacles in the association of men and women.
In these things, am greatly delighted to find that your principles agree completely with those upon which we have based the establishment of our dynasty-4 This belief is most widely considered the correct one in our world today however back then people found it a big change and many of them, especially men, were happy with the way it was. Gender equality was a tough tradition to break for the Tapping, and it certainly hurt when it came to gaining followers. Hang’s beliefs were very well thought of for an amount of time but once the people thoroughly understood that changed.
The people of the country were just not willing to give up one of the main ideas that had created their identity up until that point in Chinese history. The largest group Of people that had an issue with the Tapping’s decision to abandon traditional values may have been the ones who could help them the most. The other rebellions going on at the time, such as the Triads and the Nine, shared the anti-Munch sentiment however those rebellions were based on traditional views and leader organizations. The inability for the Tapping’s to agree made it very difficult to create alliances with these groups. The fact that the Tapings had rejected the values and institutions of traditional society made it harder for them to spread their control into the rural hinterland beyond the walls of heir captured cities. “5 The inability to gain support of these other rebellions most certainly hindered their ability to rule. To lead new regimes need the people to believe in their most fundamental values, and the Tapping did not have that widespread belief. The Nine and Triad rebellions that were in more rural areas rather than in the cities, like the Tapping, had more success in gaining the faith of the people.
Those rebellions kept their traditional views but also were ready to dispose of the Munch government at that time. However, they were not able to gain the military support that the Tapping assessed. If the rebellions had all had consistent values and beliefs, the Tapping would have had a much larger chance of being successful in overthrowing the government in power at the time. In addition to their immense changes to Chinese tradition, another thing that contributed to the Tapping failure was their inability to gain the support of foreign nations.
At one time the western powers thought that the new views of the Tapping were very promising but by 1 860, that changed-6 Frederick Bruce, a British official, who lived through the time believed that the Tapping were a detriment to British trade with China. He told the government that the rebellion was nothing but trouble and the “destructive nature of the insurrection and… The blasphemous and immoral character of the superstition on which they are based” 7 This view on the Tapings demonstrated the distrust that foreign powers felt.
The rebellion was very sure to fail after not gaining the support of western powers like Great Britain that not only held land in China, Hong Kong, but also were such prominent trade partners to the Chinese. The foreign powers decision to choose the King over the Tapping lead to many defeats ND the overall fall of the rebellion. In addition to the British, the French also decided to take the side of the King. With the British and F-ranch taking the side of the King, and the other domestic rebellions choosing not to help them, the list of the Tapings allies was very short.
Having no allies foreign or domestic is a sure way to lose a rebellion. One of the greatest issues that the Tapping rebels had with the European nations joining the side of the Munch was their ability to keep up with the advancements in fighting style. The western nations had officers help the King develop troops. By July of 1 862, the western officers had established military training for the Munch soldiers-8 With Munch forces already possessing stronger forces from the beginning, they now have much more advanced war training than the Tapping soldiers did.
The Tapings’ lack Of adequate training made it very hard for them to keep up in battles, which ultimately lead to the rebellions failure. The foreign powers decision to not support the Tapping rebellion came down to the most important thing to them. They believed that the Munch, not the Tapping was the best option for them to continue trade with and support. The British were not scared that the Tapping rebellion would resist trade with them but that it would “throw the country and its commerce into chaos. “9 The lack of leadership and strong support of the people turned away Britain from aiding the Tapping rebellion.
Without the support of trade, the government was at a severe disadvantage when it came to fighting the King. They possessed less food and weapons. An example of when Britain’s decision came to turn against the Tapping was when Sir George Bonham, the governor of Hong Kong and Chief Superintendent of Trade, visited the city of Nanjing. It is said that he sent word back to the nation. He was not impressed. He saw nothing to suggest that the rebels were capable of founding an affective government. He saw little sign of trade. As far as future relations between Nanjing and foreign governments were concerned. 10 At this time, Bonham was England’s most important voice when deciding these things his word gave a lot of weight. Bonham was also known as a tolerant man during that period. Al In 1853 before they had any ill feelings towards the rebellion he was not able to see any success in their government’s future. With Bantam’s character in mind, it is not surprising that the country would never again truly e able to trust the Tapings as a viable trade partner. The inability for the Tapping rebellion to gain the favor of the British, and other foreign power’s governments lead to many troubles for them.
Apart from not possessing reliable trade partners, the fact foreign powers chose to take the side of the King hurt the Tapping Rebellion on the battlefield as well. The first battle that the British and French helped fight the rebellion was when the Tapping attacked Shanghai in 1862. 12 It was said that the Tapping put up a good fight but “foreign artillery proved to be decisive”. Without their own form of artillery or fortified defenses, the Tapping were helpless. After this attack the two foreign nations were fully dedicated to helping the King.
Shanghais defense was only the beginning on how the two foreign nations would join together to fight the rebellion. There were many more destructive battles to the Tapping. On January 13th 1862, the Tapping were seen with troops marching near the Wising River. Without any provocation the French and British simply fired on them with their ships. 13 Tapping rebels didn’t stand a chance. Then on the 21 SST of February, “Vice-Admiral Hope personally led an expedition to attack Tapping-occupied Aka-chaos, ten miles north-east of Shanghai. Hope’s artillery corps was supported by 350 British and 60 French troops. 14 The Tapping lost the fight due to the lack of superior arms. The battles would continue to add up, and defeats came with them. Shanghai was a defining moment for the Tapping rebellion, the fact it remained in the Sing’s hands “must be credited to active European intervention through late May 1862. “15 There was no chance that a rebellion with a lack of allies could last. With Britain and France involved in the fight the Tapping had a tough time surviving for much longer. The inability to have allies in their civil war continuously hurt them.
If the leaders of the rebellion had thought bigger and opened their minds to things outside of China many things could have been different. The foreign powers had their well-known differences with the Munch rule and were looking for a change. However, the Tapping leaders failed to give them that option without being open to trade like the other countries were hoping. The hope of a new China was put quickly to rest. The Tapping Rebellion was ultimately a failure but was crucial in installing the possibility of a new way bethought in China.
Their failure can be attributed to the destruction of Chinese tradition and their inability to form alliances with any other military powers. The rebellions basic stance on religion was a fresh new thought for many Chinese people. However, Confucianism was what created the identity of China up until that point in history so it was very hard for many to just give that up. One of the fundamental ideals of Confucianism is that women always report to their father or husband. The Tapping tried to change this and get rid of gender inequality in China, although that gained the Us port Of many there Was also a vast amount that this turned away.
These new views made it impossible for them to succeed in gaining the support of domestic military allies such as other rebellions going on at the time. Even though they all shared anti-Munch sentiment there were not any who were ready to dispose of Chinese tradition. Other than failing to gain domestic military support the Tapping also failed in gaining foreign support. This inability to create a military alliance and trade agreement led to inevitable defeat at the hands of the King dynasty. The failure of the Tapping Rebellion can be attributed to these shortcomings.