The May 4th Movement in China Essay examples

2086 Words Mar 23rd, 2009 9 Pages
The May 4th Movement in China

The first Cultural Revolution of China’s 20th century began with the May Fourth Movement on May 4th, 1919. The May Fourth Movement in China was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement. Although it physically began on May 4, 1919, it actually lasted from about 1917 until 1923. It marked the rapid rise of Chinese Nationalism as well as a re-evaluation of Confucianism. The movement was sparked by the dissatisfaction with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles settlement regarding China. The treaty endorsed the Japanese takeover of the German concessions in the Shandong peninsula. The movement was an attempt to redefine the culture, political, and intellectual state of China. The movement
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Each individual was expected to set an example to others and to show proper behavior, according to one’s seniority and position in relation to others. Five social relations exist in Confucianism: Ruler to Subject, Father to Son, Husband to Wife, Older brother to Younger brother, and friend to friend, with age being a major factor. Personal views, thoughts, disagreements, etc. which were in contradiction to this system were not to be expressed. Individuals simply accepted and followed Confucian ways, regardless whether they agreed with these ways or not. It was believed that those individuals educated in the Confucian doctrines would conduct themselves in accordance with moral principles. The Civil Service Examinations were responsible for establishing the bureaucracy that governed China under the Emperor. These examinations favored the Gentry and Aristocrat classes. Peasants, although theoretically eligible to take the examinations, were in actuality unable to compete due to financial restrictions, a lack of formal education, and their inability to write and understand classical Chinese. The peasants in China formed approximately 80% of the populace. Accordingly, the country was being governed by a small minority of favored people. Another aspect of Confucianism was the status of females. Most marriages were arranged, with no concern for the desires of the women involved. Men were allowed to have more than one wife, with no

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