Posts Categorized: Chapter 3

Zeng Guofan

Zeng Guofan (1811 – 1872) was a contemporary of Feng Guifen’s, who, unlike Feng, was able to successfully raise an army to defend his hometown against the Taiping. Feng convinced Zeng to send his top lieutenant, Li Hongzhang, to come to Feng’s aid and liberate Suzhou from the rebels. Zeng was impressed with Feng’s thinking… Read more »

Dissenting Views from a Hut near Bin

The result of Feng’s contact with the West was his life’s great work, a small volume “proffering sweeping strategic counsel to the Imperial court on matters ranging from national policy to foreign affairs.” According to Feng, as quoted in Wealth and Power,┬áthe West’s superiority was more than simply advanced weaponry: The West, he declared, surpassed…

Shanghai in the 1860s

Feng arrived in Shanghai in 1860 to escape the Taiping Rebellion, and found there an unexpected resource: intimate contact with the Western world, through foreigners he could interact with first hand. He moved his family to a home in the foreign concessions and began to take notes from his engagement with foreigners.