Confucianism And The Conflicts Of The Han Dynasty Of Ancient China

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The Han Dynasty of Ancient China was one of the most prominent and long lasting societies of the time. However, they were not untouched by the ravages of the world, and despite their Confucius roots, there was a war to be fought. The Salt and Iron debate is an example of how the Confucianism of the time affected the strategy of the war. Should the government stick to their principles, or protect their empire? When is the time to say “enough is enough”?
In order to understand the debate, we must understand those who are arguing. The Scholars spent years studying the word and policy of Confucius, then toured China spreading his ideas to every household. The Confucius Scholars opposed the Salt and Iron policies of the Chinese government.
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They asked why their people should have to suffer if it wasn’t necessary. The bureaucrats were also beginning to consider the possibility of fighting back, and to do so they would need soldier and costly weaponry. Fighting back was becoming more attractive because of the severe cost of bribing the Xiongnu, who were taking goods like gold, silk, and Princesses. There was a major loss happening, and the only way to keep the country floating was through the monopolies. The bureaucrats try explaining this to the Scholars, but are vehemently argued against because the trade is steeped in greed.
In my opinion, the bureaucrats make a stronger case for the continuation of the Salt and Iron monopolies. There must be an army, and walls to protect the country. If they aren’t going to fight, like the Scholars want, then there also needs to be money for bribes. If there is no money, there is no way to protect the people of China. It is a situation where you have decided if your morals come before the safety of those you care about. How far are you willing to go to protect your people? The Scholars aren’t willing to go all the way, and people will die because of it. Not everyone has the same beliefs, so displaying them will not save you. The Scholars did not consider the real harm that comes to the citizens when they cannot express themselves fully, not to mention the harm
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