In December Yuan agreed to an armistice and entered upon negotiations with the republicans. On February 12, 1912, the boy emperor was made to abdicate the throne in a proclamation that transferred the government to the people’s representatives, declared that the constitution should thenceforth be republican, and gave Yuan Shikai full powers to organize a provisional government. The Nanjing authorities agreed that the emperor was to retain his title for life and receive a large pension. To unify the country, Sun Yat-sen resigned the presidency, and Yuan was chosen in his place. Li Yuanhong, who had come into prominence in Wuchang in the initial stages of the rebellion, was elected vice president. A provisional constitution was promulgated in March 1912 by the Nanjing parliament, and in April the government was transferred to Beijing.
The republic, established with such startling rapidity and comparative ease, was destined in the succeeding decades to witness the progressive collapse of national unity and orderly government.