Strongmen The Lin And Rural Violence Analysis

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In the 19th century, since the trade’s well development between Taiwan and Mainland China, many land owners and merchants became a powerful force in local society. Among others, Wufeng Lins was a well-known prominent family in Taichung city. The power of the politics, the army, the agriculture, and the trade had been made the Lins family flourished for more than a hundred years. The Lins also owned a large portion of lands in Taiwan, especially in the central regions. Historically, they even had more authority than the local government at the pinnacle time, due to their great local power and trade network.

The article “Strongmen: The Lins and Rural Violence, 1839-1859,” the author Johanna Menzel Meskill was mainly discussed the social type and how the Lins got the power and rise. Economic strain and the different cultural value’s feuding led to a disordered society. Clan vendettas and the clear demarcation between different surname groups were the major factor to cause conflicts in the late 18th century and the early 19th century. The unstable
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People always seen them as a group without culture, so they would only use violence to solve any problem. Meskill also mentioned it, “a person of too much violence and too little culture in the eyes of traditional historians, he has emerged in modern works, if at all, as a scavenger of a dying system” (Meskill, 1979). In fact, it may not as simple as the surface looked like. Even though the Strongmen created a lot of conflicts and violence, on the other hand, their power actually arose by the local people. If the Strongmen were that ignorant as the historians had said, then they should not have that much support. Their existence was valuable and meaningful, whether was from present or historical perspectives. Like it said in the article, “the strongman was neither a simple exploiter nor an outside preying on the local society” (Meskill, 1979)

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