Date of Award

June 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Norman A. Kutcher


Chiang Kai-Shek, Hu Shih, Moderacy, New Life Movement, Pragmatism

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


This paper focuses on the use of the term “moderate” “moderacy” as a term applied to categorize some Chinese intellectuals and categorize their political positions throughout the 1920’s and 30’s. In the early decades of the twentieth century, the label of “moderate” (温和 or 温和派)became associated with an inability to align with a political or intellectual faction, thus preventing progress for either side or in some cases, advocating against certain forms of progress. Hu Shih, however, who was one of the most influential intellectuals in modern Chinese history, proudly advocated for pragmatic moderation, as suggested by his slogan: “Boldness is suggesting hypotheses coupled with a most solicitous regard for control and verification.” His advocacy of moderation—which for him became closely associated with pragmatism—brought criticism from those on the left and right. This paper seeks to address these analytical assessments of Hu Shih by questioning not just the labeling of Hu Shih as a moderate, but also questioning the negative connotations attached to moderacy as a political and intellectual label itself.


Open Access



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