The Rise Of The Manchus
Although the Manchus were not Han Chinese and faced fierce opposition, particularly in the south, they had incorporated a significant amount of Chinese culture before they conquered China Proper. This was especially true of the Buddhist culture. The Ming and earlier Chinese ancestors of many institutions were preserved by the Manchus once they came to the realisation that in order to conquer the empire, they would have to do things the Chinese way. They upheld the Confucian court customs and temple rites, over which the emperors had customarily presided, and preserved these traditions.
The civil service system established by Confucius was maintained by the Manchus. Despite the fact that Chinese people were not allowed to occupy the highest posts, Chinese officials outnumbered Manchu officeholders in most positions outside of the capital city, with the exception of military roles. As the official state faith, the Neo-Confucian ideology, which places an emphasis on the loyalty of subjects to their rulers, was imposed. The Chinese literary and historical undertakings that the Manchu emperors financed were of vast magnitude; the fact that so much of China’s ancient literature was able to be preserved is largely attributable to these endeavours.
Ever wary of Han Chinese, the Qing authorities put into place policies designed to prevent the assimilation of the Manchus into the population of Han Chinese, who was the majority ethnic group in China at the time. It was unlawful for Han Chinese to go into Manchu territory, and it was also frowned upon for Manchus to participate in any kind of commercial activity or physical work. It was against the rules for members of one tribe to marry members of the other. The Chinese appointee was supposed to conduct the actual job, while the Manchu appointee was there to maintain Han allegiance to Qing power. This system of dual appointments was utilised in many different posts within the government.
The Qing administration was resolute in its efforts to defend itself not only against domestic uprising but also against invasion from other countries. After the Manchus had finished subduing China Proper, in the late seventeenth century, they went on to conquer Outer Mongolia, which is today known as the Mongolian People’s Republic. They created a protectorate over the region that the Chinese refer to as Xizang but is more popularly known as Tibet in the West during the eighteenth century after gaining control of Central Asia all the way up to the Pamir Mountains. As a result, the Qing Dynasty was the first to be successful in removing all threats to mainland China that originated outside the country’s geographical boundaries. The Manchu dynasty was responsible for the expansion of the Chinese empire to cover a greater geographical region than it had ever done before or since; during this period, Taiwan, the last remaining stronghold of anti-Manchu opposition, became part of China for the very first time. In addition to this, the numerous border states paid homage to the emperors of the Qing dynasty.
The most significant danger to China’s territorial integrity did not approach the country by land, as it so often had in the past; rather, it came from the ocean, and it first made landfall in the southern coastal region. Even before the Qing dynasty was established, in the sixteenth century, a significant number of Western merchants, missionaries, and soldiers of fortune started to come in China. The incapacity of the empire to accurately assess the nature of the new threat or to adapt flexibly to it led to the downfall of the Qing dynasty as well as the collapse of the whole framework of dynastic control, which had existed for over a millennium.