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The path not taken
December 21, 2012 8:29 AM   Subscribe

On March 20th 1913, Song Jiaoren, China’s first democratically elected prime minister, was assassinated as he waited for a train in Shanghai. With him died China's best shot at democratic government.
posted by Chrysostom (6 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think it's little to simplistic to think that democratic government died with Song Jiaoren. The best equipped and most modern army at that time, Beiyang Army, was personally loyal to Yuan Shikai. If Song had lived, how would he be able to oppose Beiyang Army?

I don't see how any democratic government would not be discredited by Twenty-one demands.
posted by Carius at 9:23 AM on December 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


China's best shot at democratic government is continuing reforms, building up from the local level, and learning from the Taiwanese model.
posted by jiawen at 10:43 AM on December 21, 2012


China's best shot at democratic government


I see what you did there.
posted by chavenet at 10:55 AM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


China’s first democratically elected prime minister

in line to become, to be sure. Reading up on this, the premier lacked power versus the president and there wasn't even a cabinet system in place, so even had his plurality Nationalists formed a working coalition, it would have been a difficult political season to even win the reforms necessary for Song to exercise more than nominal legislative power.

I also see things like this and automatically lump them in with the Great Man theory of history. I tend to believe subsequent events showed too much fractious splintering of the political sphere to have been the basis of a successful and democratic reform movement.
posted by dhartung at 12:21 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by senor biggles at 7:27 AM on December 22, 2012


dhartung: "I also see things like this and automatically lump them in with the Great Man theory of history. I tend to believe subsequent events showed too much fractious splintering of the political sphere to have been the basis of a successful and democratic reform movement."

Fair enough. I think you can go too far to the "only societal trends matter" end of the spectrum, though. Great Men can, at least at times, have a significant impact on history. If Henry VIII's brother Arthur had lived and reigned, I feel pretty sure the English Reformation would have unfolded differently than it did.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:10 PM on December 22, 2012


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