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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Yuan Shikai

A Reappraisal

Yuan Shikai (1859–1916) has been both hailed as China’s George Washington for his role in the country’s transition from empire to republic and condemned as a counter-revolutionary. Yuan Shikai: A Reappraisal sheds new light on the controversial history of this talented administrator and modernizer who endeavoured to establish a new dynasty while serving as the first president of the republic, eventually declaring himself emperor. Drawing on untapped primary sources and recent scholarship, Patrick Fuliang Shan offers a lucid, comprehensive, and critical new interpretation of Yuan’s part in shaping modern China.

Table of Contents


1 An Elite Clan

2 The Early Years

3 Imperial Commissioner in Korea

4 Training the First Modern Army

5 The Hundred Days

6 Governor of Shandong

7 Governor-General of Zhili and Imperial Minister

8 Dismissal and Reclusion

9 The 1911 Revolution

10 Provisional President

11 President

12 “Emperor”


Notes; Bibliography; Glossary; Index

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