Empress Dowager Cixi Research Paper

Good Essays
The Demonization of Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi effectively ruled over the Qing Dynasty (modern day China) for 47 years, from 1861 until her death in 1908. In a time when the Celestial Empire was crumbling, she pulled the strings of her puppet emperors and held it together as best she could but has been made a scapegoat by historians for matters that were out of her control. Republicans have also used the Empress Dowager as a scapegoat to discredit the dynasty after its fall. In reality, the Empress Dowager had many successes during her reign; China had its first victory in modern diplomacy at the Treaty of Saint Petersburg in 1881, modernisation of the Imperial Army and founding a national naval force, she set out a plan to combat
…show more content…
For over 2000 years, China had operated under strict Confucian doctrines. In Confucianism, women are seen as inferior to men and the sexism that was rife in China can be clearly seen in the traditional characters of Chinese, where the characters for “greedy” (貪婪) , “dislike” (嫌), “evil” (妖) and “slave” (奴隸) all include the character for “female” (女). In 2000 years, 20 imperial dynasties and 557 emperors, only three women have ruled; Empress Lu in the 2nd century BC, Empress Wu in the 7thcentury AD and Empress Dowager Cixi in the 19th century AD. Like Empress Dowager Cixi, Empress Wu experienced extreme vilification after her death. Alicia Little of The Times believed that “future ages will hold the Empress Dowager in even greater horror than Empress Wu”. For the first 41 years of her reign, she was required to sit behind a yellow silk screen during the royal audiences because of Confucian teachings promoting the segregation of genders. Empress Dowager Cixi could be seen as an early feminist as she started the women’s liberation in China. In 1902 she issued a decree banning the barbaric tradition of foot binding which had been deforming women’s feet for centuries and in 1907 she decreed that women should, for the first time in China’s history, officially receive an
Get Access