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Date Permissions Signed

5-9-2016

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Thompson, Roger R.

Second Advisor

Mathieu, Ed

Third Advisor

Pearce, Scott

Abstract

The conventional history of China’s late nineteenth-century Self-Strengthening movement charted a failure of military reforms. My research explores this period through the perspective of the prominent governor-general Zhang Zhidong. From 1884-1901, Zhang consistently pursued new military academies and western-style armies aiming to secure the nation against foreign imperialist incursion. At the same time, the governor’s understanding of regional differences as well as his increasing experience in military affairs distinctly shaped his effective new military institutions. At the turn of the century, Zhang Zhidong’s military apparatus was arguably one of the best in China. In the wider analysis of Chinese military history, the governor’s career contrasted with other historical figures by its peripatetic nature and its continuity through the Sino-Japanese War and Boxer Rebellion. Zhang’s many jurisdictions showed not only his consistent dedication to military power as a means to national sovereignty, but also created numerous military institutions for study. More importantly, the continuity in the governor’s effective military reforms underlined fundamental historical misunderstandings about the nature of late-Qing China. First, Zhang’s successful military institutions contended with China’s deterioration narrative from 1895 to the dynastic fall in 1911. Second, the reason for historical misinterpretation stemmed from the obscuring of both late-Qing historians’ and the historical actors’ perceptions by the influences of western imperialism. Ultimately, the study of Zhang Zhidong’s military reforms shows a discontinuity in the conventional historical narrative, and thus creates space for increased Chinese agency in their own history.

Type

Text

Publisher

Western Washington University

OCLC Number

949716214

Digital Format

application/pdf

Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Zhang, Zhidong, 1837-1909

Geographic Coverage

China; Guangdong Sheng (China)

Genre/Form

Academic theses

Language

English

Language Code

eng

Rights

Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Included in

History Commons

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