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Chen Sheng Wu Guang Uprising
Chen Sheng Wu Guang Uprising (Chinese: 陳勝吳廣起義, July 209 BC - December 209 BC) was the first uprising by commoners in Chinese history. Before then, all power struggles, wars, revolutions, and dynastic changes were led by nobles and people with stature.
Chen Sheng and Wu Guang were both peasant laborers who were ordered to march north to participate in the defense of Yuyang (漁陽). However, they were stopped halfway in Anhui province by a severe rainstorm and flooding. The harsh Qin laws stated that anyone late to show up for government jobs will be executed, regardless of the nature of the delay. Chen and Wu realized that they could never make it on time and decided to organize a band that would rebel against the government, that they would die fighting for their freedom rather than by execution. They became the center of armed uprisings all over China, and in a few months their strength congregated to around ten thousand men, composed mostly of discontent peasants. But on the battlefield, they were no match for the highly professional Qin soldiers and the uprising was put down in less than a year. Both Chen and Wu were betrayed by their subordinates and executed. However, they set up the example that was to be followed by Liu Bang and Xiang Yu. Their spirit is best summed up in Chen's quote "王侯將相寧有種乎" (wánghójiàngxiàngqíyuózhǒnghu), meaning that every man, regardless of birth, has the chance to become someone with great power if he exerts himself.
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