Cartoon, Yuan Shikai's attempt to be emperor.

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Cartoon, Yuan Shikai's attempt to be emperor.




A late 1915 editorial cartoon decrying Yuan Shikai's attempt to have himself proclaimed emperor. As the new provisional president in 1912, Yuan quickly alienated revolutionary and progressive elements of the Republic by disregarding the provisional constitution, securing foreign loans on disadvantageous terms to strengthen his military power, and then arranging the March 1913 assassination of the vigorous opposition Nationalist leader Song Jiaoren (Sung Chiao-jen, 1883-1913). After crushing a short-lived revolt of seven provincial governments in August, 1913 (the so-called "second revolution" which sent Sun Yat-sen and other revolutionary leaders into exile), Yuan dissolved the Kuomintang and suspended the national parliament and then the provincial assemblies. A new "constitutional compact" of 1914 gave him comprehensive dictatorial powers, and by 1915 he was also named president for life. When Yuan proceeded to maneuver to become emperor, however, he inspired not only a widespread military revolt of southern and western provinces, but also the near-unanimous opposition of the foreign treaty-powers, and, perhaps most crucial, the loss of support of his own Beiyang clique military officers. Yuan was forced to re-treat from his plans and died a broken man in mid-1916.

FROM: IRC