a1 University of Chicago
As in all Asian countries, modernization in China was a result of Western impact. The year 1860 was a turning point in Chinese history. Prior to that year tradition reigned supreme, and all foreign nations were considered as distant uncivilized peoples whose best fortune lay in becoming vassals of the Middle Kingdom. A preliminary sign of change came in 1839–1842, when China suffered defeat in the Opium War with Great Britain. The defeat, humiliating as it was at the time, proved insufficient to shake China's inertia and was soon almost forgotten. The age of change had, however, arrived. Internal rebellion flashed up in the fifties. In addition, a new war with France and Britain started in 1856. In 1860, the emperor was a fugitive at Jehol; his summer palace was burned down by the invaders; a humiliating “unequal” treaty was concluded. The wound was too deep to be ignored, and the ground for reform was prepared.
* In this paper I shall call the educated men in China prior to the twentieth century literati or scholars, and those who graduated from the modern school system, first established in 1902, intellectuals. The “higher’ intellectuals refer to men who had some college education or more, and the “lower’, middle school graduates or below.