The founders of the New Culture Movement gathered at Beijing University, where they were recruited by a chancellor Cai Yuanpei. Dean Chen Duxiu and librarian Li Dazhao in turn recruited leading figures such as philosopher Hu Shi, scholar of Buddhism Liang Shuming, historian Gu Jiegang, and many more. Chen founded the journal New Youth in 1915, which later became incredibly famous amongst the middle class and had hundreds of publications.
Yuan Shikai, who inherited part of the Qing dynasty military power after its collapse in 1911, attempted to establish order and unity, but failed to protect China against Japan and never became an emperor. When he died in 1916, the collapse of the traditional order caused severe consequences and the search for a replacement intensified.
Two western ideologies, democracy and science, were quickly gaining support throughout China. Democracy became a vital tool for those frustrated with the instability of China whereas science became a crucial instrument to discard the "darkness of ignorance and superstition."
The feminism, promoted by many New Culture leaders, was an violation of traditional values. More specifically, the movement replaced sexuality over the traditional Chinese idea of similarity.
The movement of those times can be divided in two parts. The main contents of the first period were against feudal thought and superstition by democracy and science, and proposed a new naturalistic vernacular writing style, that replaced more complex 2,000-year-old classical style. Chen Duxiu and American-educated scholar Hu Shi were the most outstanding representatives in this period, besides them there were other bright figures like Lu Xun, Li Dazhao and etc.. The second movement were influenced by Marxism and eventually became more and more political. Combined with the May 4th Movement, the later period of New Culture Movement accounted for the spread of politic-focused Marxism.