In late 1899 and throughout 1900, the Boxers attacked and killed foreigners across China. In response, the Western powers and Japan organized a multinational force.
After taking some losses, this force crushed the Boxers and rescued foreigners besieged in Beijing. The empress Ci Xi had at first supported the Boxers but reversed her policy as they retreated.
In the aftermath of the Boxer Uprising, foreign powers forced China to make still more concessions. The defeat, however, forced even Chinese conservatives to support Westernization. In a rush of reforms, China admitted women to schools and stressed science and mathematics in place of Confucian thought. More students were sent abroad to study.
During the early 1900s, China expanded economically. Mining, shipping, railroads, banking, and exports of cash crops grew. Small-scale Chinese industry developed with the help of foreign capital. A Chinese business class emerged, and a new urban working class began to press for rights in the same way Western workers had done.
Although the Boxer Uprising failed, the flames of Chinese nationalism spread. Reformers who wanted to strengthen China's government introduced a constitutional monarchy. Some reformers called for a republic.
A passionate spokesman for a Chinese republic was Sun Yixian (soon yee SHYAHN), also known as Sun Yat-sen. In the early 1900s, he organized the Revolutionary Alliance to rebuild China on “Three Principles of the People.” The first principle was nationalism, or freeing China from foreign domination. The second was democracy, or representative government. The third was livelihood, or economic security for all Chinese.
When Ci Xi died in 1908, a two-year-old boy inherited the throne. China slipped into chaos. In 1911, uprisings swiftly spread. Peasants, students, warlords, and even court politicians helped topple the Qing dynasty, ending China's 2000-year old monarchy.
Sun Yixian hurried home from a trip to the United States. In early 1912, he was sworn in as president of the new Chinese republic. The republic faced overwhelming problems and was almost constantly at war with itself or foreign invaders.
Known as the Father of Modern China, Sun Yixian founded the Chinese Nationalist Party and became the first president of China after the fall of the Qing dynasty.
What caused the Qing dynasty to fall?