In 1922, he was made commander of the New Xiang Army of the Beiyang Government. A trusted subordinate of Tan Yankai, he went to war with Tan with the support of Wu Peifu and forced Tan's resignation from the governorship of Hunan on 25 November 1920. Zhao Hengti then became the military governor of Hunan from 26 November 1920 to 11 March 1926. He was also the civil governor at the same time except between November 1920 and 6 April 1921. Like Chen Jiongming, Zhao was an advocate of a federalist constitution, but Mao Zedong thought his motive was to retain his own power rather than improve the governance of his country. After a conflict with Zhao Tang Shengzhi was driven south into the arms of Chiang Kaishek, who gave him command of the Eighth Army of the National Revolutionary Army. On 11 March, Tang's troops had deposed Zhao and replaced him as the military and civil governor of Hunan as part of the opening campaign of the Northern Expedition.