Mandate Of Heaven

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The Emperor was the head of the central government who had direct control of the entire empire through provincial, commandery, and local or county governing bodies. The Chinese believed that the emperor was chosen according to the Mandate of Heaven; he was chosen by heaven based on his virtue and wisdom. The emperor did not have to be of a noble family or certain background--the founder of the Han Dynasty, Liu Bang, was born a peasant. As a result of the Mandate of Heaven, some Chinese believed that the emperor was a divine being. However, most emperors obtained and retained power through their control of the military. The emperor also held enormous social power. For example, the emperor performed certain rites that nobody else was privileged

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