Cao Kun

Cao Kun

President Less

Cao Kun

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Cao Kun (Courtesy name: Zhongshan (仲珊)) (December 12, 1862-May 15, 1938) was a military leader of the Zhili clique in the Beiyang Army, and trustee of the Catholic University of Peking.

Early life & rise to leadership

Cao was born in a poor family in Tianjin. During the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894, he went with the army to fight in Choson. After the war was over, he joined Yuan Shikai to participate in the training of New Army (Known as the Beiyang Army). Admired by Yuan, Cao managed to rise very quickly.

He was made a general in the Beiyang Army and led the Zhili clique after the death of Feng Guozhang. During the 1918 election, he was promised the vice-presidency by Duan Qirui but the office remained vacant after most of the National Assembly left, depriving it of a quorum. He felt betrayed by Duan and defeated him in battle in 1920. He forced the resignations of both Xu Shichang and Li Yuanhong and was president of the Republic of China (in Beijing) from October 10, 1923 to November 2, 1924.

Cao had a family connection to the Chinese Muslim military commander Ma Fuxing, who resided in Xinjiang.

"Bribing President"

Cao Kun infamously acquired the presidential office by openly bribing assembly members with 5000 silver dollars each. This episode brought disrepute to the Beiyang government and its assembly, which lacked a quorum to even hold elections. It turned all the rival factions against him and his own clique began suffering from...
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