Essay about Emperor of China; Self-Portrait of K'Ang-Hsi

1283 WordsFeb 1, 20116 Pages
“Emperor of China; Self-Portrait of K’ang-hsi” Emperor K’ang-hsi was one of the greatest Chinese emperors of all time. Ruling from 1662 to 1722 he was also one of the longest ruling emperors in Chinese history and for that matter the world. K’ang-hsi brought China to long-term stability and relative wealth after years of war and chaos. Jonathan Spence writes from the eyes of K’ang-hsi getting his information from K’ang-hsi’s own writings. Though a little biased towards himself this book still provides important insight into his mind. Emperor of China is divided into six parts; In Motion, Ruling, Thinking, Growing Old, Sons, and Valedictory. In the first episode, In Motion, Spence tells the audience about K’ang-hsi’s travels and…show more content…
K’ang-hsi tried to stay open with the public about his health, explaining that this is the “ultimate form of honesty.” Emperor K’ang-hsi tried to live forever through his children. He had 56 children all together but only one with his first wife, who later took over the thrown. The Emperor was very protective of his sons and made sure they got everything they wanted. He would often kill someone that threatened the chance of a power overthrow. He once killed three cooks and several servant boys for suspicion of homosexual activity with his son Yin-jeng. At the end of K’ang-hsi’s life, he became very senile and distant from reality and the Chinese people. Even though Spence goes into great detail about Emperor K’ang-hsi’s life than any history book could have. He does this by emphasizing his writings and not other sources. The downfall to this is he does not go into great detail about many of the facts or important historical events. By this time China had foreign intervention and influence; Spence did not address any of the foreign policies K’ang-hsi made during his reign. Spence only wrote one paragraph about the confrontations with Russia, but the real even actually lasted over several decades. And the only thing that was mentioned was how nice the Emperor was to the Russian prisoners. Emperor of China; Self Portrait of K’ang-hsi should not be read as a textbook or as a completely true historical

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