There are many examples in history where the fundamental domestic trends which will eventually lead to a state’s down fall were in fact set in motion well before the state actually reach the outward zenith of its power, wealth and success.
Some sinologists have pointed out the Ming dynasty, right from the beginning, structurally relied on a heavy top down bureaucracy to a much higher degree than previous Chinese dynasties. The cost of this bureaucracy made Ming peasantry the most heavily taxed of any major chinese dynasty. Ming’s inability to rein in its bureaucracy without losing control let to its decline down fall.
Also, the primacy of Confucian scholarly bureaucracy over the military, the merchant and the aristocratic classes under Ming is attributed to reaction to the fact that the influence of merchant classes, aristocracy and military had been seen, by those very scholars, as causes of fall of previous chinese dynasties.
That is not right . Bureaucracy is not the cause of Ming downfall. On the contrary the Confucian Wang Yangming attempt to reform Chinese economy with dual pole tax reform. He is very influential in Japan and Korea and was instrumental in promoting reform in Japan during Meiji era. His good intention though end up burden the peasantry even more! Because he entrusted the execution of his reform by local gentry who are corrupt and exploited the peasantry even more. Later single whip tax reform was enacted
Ming decline started from emperor Wanli era. He is good emperor at the beginning but grew increasingly distant with time He entrusted the running of the country by Eunuch. Before Ming the role of eunuch is limited but by the time of Wanli they controlled everything the bureaucracy, army, ministry etc. Their contribute to the fall of Ming. For 30 years Wanli never attended ministerial meeting
But there are other causes The Imjin war was a drained on treasury necessitating increase in Tax that burden the peasantry. Lack of silver as the western power was in ascendancy and they crack down hard on smuggling of silver from Mexico thru pacific to China
These events occurring at roughly the same time caused a dramatic spike in the value of silver and made paying taxes nearly impossible for most provinces.
People began hoarding precious silver as there was progressively less of it, forcing the ratio of the value of copper to silver into a steep decline. In the 1630s a string of one thousand
equaled an ounce of silver; by 1640 that sum could fetch half an ounce; and, by 1643 only one-third of an ounce.
For peasants this meant economic disaster, since they paid taxes in silver while conducting local trade and crop sales in copper.
Recent historians have debated the validity of the theory that silver shortages caused the downfall of the Ming dynasty.
Rise of Manchu with great emperor of Huang Taizhi son of Qing founder Nurhaci
Peasant rebellion under Li Zhizeng and his clumsy partner who rape Wu Sangui lover forcing him to open the gate of strategic pass Shanhai to Dorgon end up in suicide of Ming emperor Gaozhen though he is hard working but the rot already set in
A peasant soldier named
mutinied with his fellow soldiers in western Shaanxi in the early 1630s after the Ming government failed to ship much-needed supplies there.
In 1634 he was captured by a Ming general and released only on the terms that he return to service.
The agreement soon broke down when a local magistrate had thirty-six of his fellow rebels executed; Li's troops retaliated by killing the officials and continued to lead a rebellion based in Rongyang, central
province by 1635.
By the 1640s, an ex-soldier and rival to Li –
(1606–1647) – had created a firm rebel base in
, while Li's center of power was in
with extended influence over Shaanxi and Henan.
In 1640, masses of Chinese peasants who were starving, unable to pay their taxes, and no longer in fear of the frequently defeated Chinese army, began to form into huge bands of rebels. The Chinese military, caught between fruitless efforts to defeat the Manchu raiders from the north and huge peasant revolts in the provinces, essentially fell apart. Unpaid and unfed, the army was defeated by Li Zicheng – now self-styled as the Prince of
– and deserted the capital without much of a fight. On 25 April 1644, Beijing fell to a rebel army led by Li Zicheng when the city gates were opened by rebel allies from within. During the turmoil,
outside the Forbidden City.