Constitutional Reform or Republican Revolution


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Name of Student

Name of Professor

History Paper

25 February 2015

Constitutional Reform or Republican Revolution


Introduction. 1

Assume you are a Chinese peasant. Would you favor constitutional reform or republican revolution? Why?  1

Conclusion. 3

Works Cited. 4


            China’s vacillations between revolution and reform have triggered a lively debate in which citizens are expressing their views on the choice between constitutional reform and the republican revolution. In this essay, I argue that as a Chinese peasant, I would favor a republican revolution while as a member of the Chinese scholarly and cultural elite I would support constitutional reform.


Assume you are a Chinese peasant. Would you favor constitutional reform or republican revolution? Why?

As a Chinese peasant, I would favor republican revolution over constitutional reform. This is because it is only through a republican revolution that the class hierarchy that oppresses the Chinese peasants would be overhauled to create greater equitability in the distribution of national resources. As a peasant, I would have serious doubts about the willingness by the ruling class to bring about meaningful change in governance structures that can bring about lasting benefits for hundreds of millions of the country’s peasants. In other approaches such as constitutional reform, I would expect the ruling class to protect its interests by establishing governance systems that make even more difficult for social mobility to occur.

Moreover, majority of the Chinese peasants live in squalor and desperation, and a republican revolution would give them the much-needed sense of national consciousness (Li 80). The power of patriarchal authority in China can be too enormous for the working class to try and topple using constitutional means. This is simply because of its tendency to use this very power to skew the constitutional review process in their favor. For this reason, peasants feel that the only power at their disposal is a violent uprising that leads to a revolution.

Moreover, as a peasant, I would feel shortchanged by the constitutional review process because I would not be actively involved in drafting, reviewing, and amending it. The ruling and scholarly elite can make a constitution without necessarily consulting peasants. However, they cannot make a revolution happen without involving peasants. Thus, it is in the best interest of peasants to embrace a republication revolution, where their participation and influence would be guaranteed.

b. Assume you are a member of the Chinese scholarly and cultural elite. Would you favor constitutional reform or republican revolution? Why?  

            As a member of the Chinese scholarly and cultural elite, I would favor constitutional reform over republican revolution. I would hate to see a situation where revolutionary leaders weave various political narratives to win political support among the peasants, thereby triggering a violent uprising that would possibly lead to the death of millions of Chinese citizens. I would be bothered by this phenomenon because of my understanding of the tendency by politicians to use deception and trickery to make political gains.

            Furthermore, as an enlightened member of society, I would be fully aware of the fact that China has never gone through a full-blown process of constitutional reform that is anchored on democratic governance. In contrast, China has already experienced the tragedy of violent revolution and how its drawbacks outweigh the benefits for the citizenry. Thus, going forward, I would like to see China to choose constitutional reform as an effective way of improving governance, establishing platforms for socio-economic development, and fostering nationalism.


            Scholars and members of the Chinese cultural elite understand the fact that constitutional reform offers China an opportunity to put in place specific social-democratic arrangements that can be put in place with a view to benefit the public at large (Bosco and Feldman 32). If China followed the route of republican revolution, it would end up putting in place temporary provisions that would easily serve to entrench an authoritarian system to the one that characterized the era of communist rebellion during the early twentieth century. Additionally, constitutional reform will enable China to rectify the shortcomings that have already been identified in the current constitution, thereby bringing about greater stability to the country’s political process.


            In conclusion, it is evident that Chinese peasants are likely to support a republican revolution while Chinese scholarly and cultural elite are likely to support constitutional reform. As a peasant, I would perceive more benefits from a republican revolution by virtue of direct participation and potential for positive changes in relations among ruling and working classes. As a member of the scholarly and cultural elite, I would favor constitutional reform because it would expect it to bring about improvements in governance and existing platforms for socio-economic development.

Works Cited

Bosco, Joseph and Feldman, Harvey. (Eds.). Constitutional Reform and the Future of the Republic of China. New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1991. Print.

Li, Minqi. “Socialism, Capitalism, and Class Struggle: The Political Economy of Modern China.” Economic and Political Weekly, 43.52 (2009): 77-85.

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