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The Power of PositionBeijing University, Intellectuals, and Chinese Political Culture, 1898-1929$
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Timothy Weston

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520237674

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520237674.001.0001

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The Insistent Pull of Politics

The Insistent Pull of Politics

(p.147) Chapter 5 The Insistent Pull of Politics
The Power of Position

Timothy B. Weston

University of California Press

Cai Yuanpei clearly believed that fundamental cultural and social reform was a long-term process built on a foundation of new and reordered knowledge, but he also believed that intellectuals were the rightful leaders of the nation in a broader, moral sense. The months leading up to the May Fourth Movement witnessed a notable acceleration and expansion of the New Culture group's campaign to shape public opinion. Cai refuted Lin Shu's attacks one by one, pointing out that Beida still taught classical Chinese and that many professors were admirers of Confucianism. The May Fourth Movement was both “overdetermined” and contingent. This Movement demonstrated to Cai that they were in fact more difficult to balance than he had realized, and that he had to be clearer as to his vision for the university.

Keywords:   Cai Yuanpei, May Fourth Movement, Beida, New Culture, social reform, cultural reform

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