By David Strand
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Additional resources for An Unfinished Republic: Leading by Word and Deed in Modern China
Ancient institutions and time-honored customs began to disappear. A new political world opened up, though its dimensions and nature were less than clear as the weeks, months, and years passed. 55 The founding of the Chinese Republic in Nanjing on January 1, 1912, the thirteenth day of the eleventh month by the old calendar and less than three months after the October 10, 1911, troop mutiny in Wuchang that triggered the revolution, was meant to signal a decisive political transformation. The place and the date of the founding were no accidents.
Scholars traveled to attend school, take the ofﬁcial examination, and assume ofﬁce in the capital or a distant province. Merchants journeyed far in search of proﬁts. 21 Political activists in the modern era did blaze some new trails—to Moscow, for example, for training in Marxism—but they also followed the well-worn tracks of ofﬁcials and their agents, merchants, laborers, and mendicants of the imperial era while acquiring, reﬁning, and delivering their political message at an ever-accelerating pace.
Sun Yat-sen was the ﬁrst Chinese political ﬁgure to fully articulate and propagandize the demand for a powerful, democratic, and wealthy China, a signal ideological contribution that buoyed him up through his many political trials and tribulations. 89 Kang Youwei offered a more radical and sophisticated utopian vision of China’s place in the world and in world history. Liang Qichao had long stressed the impor- Strand, An Unfinished Republic 4/14/11 5:39 PM Page 31 Slapping Song Jiaoren | 31 tance of a mobilized citizenry.