Rectification as an approach to inner–Party discipline emphasizes persuasive methods and education, but it does not eschew coercive measures including the purge. As students of Chinese politics are well aware, this form of coercive persuasion was comprehensively developed in the early 1940s as Mao Tse–tung consolidated his leadership, rectification theories were expounded, and the first rectification campaign of 1942–44 was carried out. Official histories and much scholarly analysis identify rectification with Mao while asserting that other leaders advocated sharply contrasting approaches. Thus CCP leaders before 1935 purportedly pushed coercive disciplinary methods – dubbed “ruthless struggles and merciless blows “ – while Mao attempted to foster systematic education. Mao's undoubted contributions to rectifi cation notwithstanding, the following analysis argues that this view both overstates actual differences and overlooks the developing nature of Mao's position.