Two influential and focal points in ancient Chinese history, the Qin and Han dynasties together spanned from the 2nd century BCE to the 3rd century CE, both of which utilised comparable philosophies in order to establish control and continuity in a centralised empire. With the Qin dynasty adopting Legalism and the Han dynasty using a combination of Confucianism and Legalism, the two dynasties’ bureaucratic governing systems, while similar in nature, achieved varying levels of success.
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.
The Han dynasty was a golden era for China. It saw the greatest land confiscation of the nation’s history and economic success. In this paper I will be focusing on the structure of the national government, the monopolizing of iron and salt, the Yumen Pass and the Yellow Turban rebellion. Join me as we take a trip back in time to visit a time in Chinas history that is highly revered.
Under the rule of Liu Bang, the Han dynasty (202B.C.E. - 220 C.E.) was one of the world’s largest and wealthiest empires. Among its achievements were improvements to the imperial administration, urban culture, technology and commerce. The dynasty was so successful that the people began to call themselves the Han people. Emperor Gaozu formerly known as Liu Bang , changed the bureaucracy and strict laws by lowering taxes, implementing less severe punishments and allowed Confucian scholars to serve as state officials. At first government officials were asked to recommend young men to join the government but eventually the emperor started an imperial university in order to pick better candidates for the job. These candidates
Before Qin became emperor, the government system was not fair. He improved it by ranking officials according to their achievements and abilities. Instead of having status because of family, soldiers would be promoted
Empress Wu, the only female to ever rule China, was a devout Daoist. Also, as the Tang Empire expanded eastward, contact with India increased and Buddhist influence reached its height. Many people traveled to India. Monks like Xuanzang went to India, brought back many sutras, literary compositions based on the teachings of Buddha, and translated them into Chinese. Seeing the rise of Daoism and Buddhism and the fading of Confucianism, Tang scholars set out to defend Confucianism. Han Yu, an essayist, vehemently argued against Buddhism and asked the Chinese to go back to their roots by studying and interpreting the Confucian Classics. His main argument against Buddhism was that the foreign religion preached equality among all and didn’t place proper importance between the five relationships (ruler vs. the ruled, father vs. son, husband vs. wife, older brother vs. younger brother, and older friend vs. younger friend) necessary for social tranquility. He urged that this was destroying social order. Nonetheless Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism all coexisted as the "three teachings" under the Tang.
Qin Shi Huang had many faults and unattractive features during his reign, he punished those who opposed him and destroyed much knowledgable literature. One of his most well-known traits is harshness. He ruled by force and violence maintaining strict order over his kingdom, and valued obedience above all. As the first ruler to have united the Warring States, and subsequently impose a central government with astonishing alacrity, this trait may seem expected in some ways. Hou and Lu, Scholars of the Qin court in 221BC highlighted the emperor’s wrong doings by saying ‘The emperor, never hearing his faults condemned, is growing prouder and prouder while those below cringe in fear and try to please him with flattery and lies.’ This tell us tat man were afraid to even think about disobeying him, let alone suggesting an idea, many just did as they were told without going their opinion. Qin Shi Huang was a a barbaric ruler, millions died through slavery or face brutal punishments if they disobeyed any of his rules or orders. He did indeed invent and build many projects but it was all at the expense of thousands of lives.Qin Shi Huang is most frequently faulted for the Burning of the Books and burying of scholars. The treasured literature of
They granted land to others in return for loyalty, military support, and other services. The Zhou King was at the highest level. (Mayer and Shek 189) He gave himself the title Shi Huandi which means "first emperor."(194) Liu Bang, a peasant, was able to become
Countless labors were conscripted to guard the border and build the fortification walls to secure defenses; he extorted excessive taxes and levies to construct monuments or the Epang Palace and his mausoleum. In his years of his unification and reign in China, Qin Shi Huang left quite a number of historical sites, such as the Old Capital Xianyang, Lishan Xanadu, and Langyatai Stone Inscriptions in Mount Tai, where later generations pay respect and extol the historical giant in the following thousand years. Soon people revolted against his reign and the first unified feudal empire went to perdition after many years. Qin Shi Huangdi was strong emperor but he had many enemies. Nomadic tribes to the north had been a threat to China since then and thousands of ruling families who had been overthrown when the Qin came to power also opposed Shi Huangdi's rule (The Unification of China. http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-14_u-173_t-472_c-1713/nsw/history/ancient-societies-china/ancient-china-part-ii/an-event-the-unification-of-china). When he died in 210 B.C. during one of his frequent tours of inspection, he was succeeded by his son but he was not able to control the rivalry among his father's chief aides. The
when the imperial structure was restored and the Tang dynasty was established, the responses towards Buddhism turned negative and harsh. Han Yu, an official at the Tang imperial court, shamed the teachings of Buddhism and Buddhism’s rejection of social hierarchies, while favoring Confucianism and its government policies to provide an explanation for class structures. He viewed Buddhism as a wicked religion and claimed that Buddha was a barbarian. As a Confucian scholar and official at the Tang imperial court, Han Yu depended on Confucianism remaining the most significant ideology in China. His response towards Buddhism was hostile, because he would have been curtailed from his high social position if Buddhism became the prominent ideology in China considering that Buddhism denounces class systems. For the same reason, Tang Emperor Wu brutally chastised the Buddhist
The Han Dynasty first started in 206 B.C. by a man named Liu Bang. However, there were people who opposed him and started rebellions around the Han kingdom. It took four years to put down all of the rebellions. In the previous dynasty, Liu Bang was an official of the Qin. However, the Qin Dynasty was short-lived and angered the public. It only lasted from 221 B.C. until 206 B.C., where Liu Bang was able to amass an army and overthrow them. Of course, he also had to fight others for the throne, with one of his biggest opponents being a general named Xiang Ji. Xiang Ji was holding Liu Bang’s father hostage, saying that if Liu Bang did not surrender, Xiang Ji would have his father executed by being boiled alive. Liu Bang refused, sending a message back to Xiang Ji to save a piece of the soup for him, basically saying that Liu Bang did not care for his father what so ever. In the end, Xiang Ji never did boil
With China united, Qin became the first emperor of United China (China) and created the Qin dynasty, surpassing the long-lasting and powerful Zhou dynasty. He then established his own form of government. He removed Feudalism, where the people had to listen to the nobles. Instead, he split his empire into 36 provinces, each one having two government officials
The interdependency between Wu and Buddhism blooms as early as her overtaking of the imperial rule of China. As resourceful and violent as Wu is in securing her title, demonstrated by the empress’s exploitation of the “secret police force to monitor dissident factions,” she is also cunning in gathering support from the ordinary masses, such as the Buddhists and their followers (Bentley 290). She “generously patronize[s] Buddhists, who return the favor by composing
In 684, Wu’s son, Li Zhe, ascended to the Imperial throne, assuming the name Zhongzong. When it became apparent that Zhongzong would be under greater influence of his wife Wei than his mother, Wu had him exiled after reducing his title to Prince of Luling. She then had her youngest son Li Dan made emperor Ruizong whereupon she became both the substantive and actual ruler.
The Six Dynasty period in Chinese historiography is often classified with moments of conflict, revolt, strife, famine, disunity, and not innovation. Historians and academics categorize the period as a placeholder between the more significant Han China—206 BCE to 220 CE—and the Tang dynasty—618 to 907 CE. Understandably, Han China’s military, infrastructure, and civil capabilities were rivalled only by that of the Roman Empire, and even then, the Han dynasties administrative capabilities were rivalled by none. The Tang period is widely considered to be the high point of Chinese culture and civilization, where cosmopolitan China emerged with force vastly shaping China for centuries to come. The significance of the Han and Tang dynasties is not in question, it is the lack of importance that historians confer on the Six Dynasties period. Admittedly the Six Dynasty period in Chinese history can be categorized as a warring period, in which China did not develop unilaterally, but separately along fractured lines (split both north-south, and east-west). Much like the European medieval period, there are few accessible sources from early-medieval china, and because of this, China’s six dynasty period is brushed over as a period of little advancement and innovation. The “Dark Ages” in Europe use to receive the same scholarly interpretation as a period of stagnation.