Imperial Constitutionalism is an ideology developed by Zaifeng prior to and uring the Chinese Civil War. The philosophy combined traditional Chinese schools of thought with the basic tenets of Western-style constitutional limits on the power of government, including a ceremonial head of state and a dedicated Parliament. It also established a more linear and clear line of succession based on familial relations as opposed to the Emperor or a Dowager/regent selecting an heir from the next generation, and retroactively required all Emperors to be at least sixteen years of age before being eligible for coronation.

These reforms were developed initially as philosophical musings following the Hundred Days' Reforms in 1898, but by the time of the Chinese Civil War, Zaifeng was able to convince his elder brother, the Guangxu Emperor to adopt the Imperial Constitution in the case of a victory, believing in its ability to unite the deeply divided Chinese nation and the fact that a victory by the Emperor and his allies would represent a rejection of reactionary absolutism. With Guangxu's victory in 1919, the Constitution of China was written and implemented in 1920 and 1921, although Zaifeng would never serve as Emperor, as he desired, for his son Pu Yi had been chosen as heir before the Constitution was written.

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