As the twentieth century began, the Qing dynasty found itself besieged by foreign powers. Critically examining these powers, such as the United States and Great Britain, Chinese thinkers found themselves in a paradox regarding the country’s future. On one hand, China could adhere to Confucian tradition, rebuke Western ideals, and maintain its distinct culture. On the other, these foreign nations had swept into China, pillaged its treasuries, and slaughtered its armies. These nations clearly had great power, which some argued stemmed from their modernization and political structure. To modernize, these would-be revolutionaries thought that the country should adopt Western principles. In 1905, one of these revolutionaries, an idealist named Sun Yat-sen, proposed his “Three People’s Principles,” namely “nationalism, democracy, and the people’s livelihood,” to bring China into the modern age. In the coming years, he sought to make these ideals a reality, and for a brief time, he had an opportunity to do so.