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Republic of China

Sun Yatsen and revolutionary representatives from 17 provinces met on October 10, 1911, in Nanjing and set up the Provisional Republican Government.

Though the republican government had much popular support, it lacked the military means to oust the Qing Dynasty in Beijing. Rather, it was threatened to be ousted itself by an army dispatched from Beijing.

Sun Yatsen and his associates, however, succeeded in convincing the commander of the imperial forces, Yuan Shikai, to switch sides. Ultimately, however, it was not Yuan Shikai who was won by Sun Yatsen to the republican cause but the republican movement that was made subject to the personal ambitions of Yuan Shikai. Yuan Shikai first ousted Sun Yatsen as leader of the republican government, then installed himself as president, then changed the republican constitution to make himself president for life.

In 1915, when this met with opposition from those who had taken part in the republican revolution, Yuan Shikai felt that the republican ideology had outlived its usefulness for his personal ambitions. He abandoned the republican cause on short notice and declared the restoration of imperial China, with himself, who else, as emperor.

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