A number of factors brought an end to the era of the samurai:
- During the period of peace in Japan from the early 17th to the mid-19th centuries, the samurai were rarely active as warriors.
- Many farmers moved to the cities, and lower-class samurai began to resent that they were forced to live in poverty.
- The U.S. offered to open trade with Japan in 1853. The subsequent end of isolationism, and the desire among Japanese to learn what they could from the U.S. and become a world power, contributed to the demise of the samurai.
- The government seized land from feudal lords. The samurai were given government bonds, which they used primarily to buy farms or establish businesses in the cities.
- In 1876, the samurai were banned from wearing their sword and a national army was formed.
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