This chapter examines the internal rivalries among the imperial kinsmen. Manchu rulers had to eliminate the autonomous powers of their brothers and close kinsmen before they could wield centralized authority over the state. The “domestication” of the banner princes, and the concomitant transition from collegial to one-person rule, was accomplished by the 1730s. Although the sibling politics set off by the Qing refusal to adopt the Chinese dynastic principle of eldest-son succession continued until the middle of the nineteenth century, imperial princes also reverted to earlier patterns of fraternal solidarity and support. The late Qing prominence of princes Gong and Chun in governance thus paralleled earlier political structures.
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