Chinese Empires' Impact

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What impact did the Qin and Han dynasties had done in the Imperial times of ancient China?


Summary: The Chinese empires from the Qin dynasty and the Han dynasty affected China's history, lifestyle, and etc. from the Great Wall to the Silk Road. Although these accomplishments are for the sake of their dynasties, both contained errors during their reign. As time prcoceeds, the Chinese emperors' rules and regulations of religion, such as Confucianism and Daoism dominated their government and land. Even people were punished, since they denied to follow the rules. The two dynasties also let the problems of their economy and power to crash along with everyone. And as anyone can see, these two reigns had their time of glory in the beginning, yet an unpleasant downfall affected them all in the end.



Content

The Qin Dynasty

Qin Shi Huangdi

It all began with the emperor, Zheng (Juhng), or as known as Shi Huangdi of taking over China at the age of 13-15 years, which was written by an ancient Chinese poet and historian:

"Cracking his long whip, he drove the universe before him, sallowing up the eastern and the western Zhou and overthrowing the feudal lords."

Shi Huangdi had the Chinese civilization under a classical age, which was the role model of later civilizations, yet he represents the society in a way of strictness and brutality. He took the nobles' powers away and had a watch upon them in Xianyang, along with forcing the poor to pay taxes directly to him since he brought down the feudal system, and eliminated private schooling to cease to exist, yet raised the level of education to make "China a nation of scholars". Shi Huangdi had also started a system depending on the weight and measure of money. He even presents the ways of, what his advisor Li Shi called it, Legalism, which were ideas based on the stress of the importance of obedience. Shi Huangdi's methods include for his people to obey him and receive rewards (since he fears of being killed by enemies), though instead they did the opposite effect, which lead to punishments like impalement. Besides reorganizing China and its systems, Shi Huangdi had the famous Great Wall upon his empire for safety from any wanderers, from other places, that would raid the civilization.

Qin Dynasty

Since Leaglism was allowed except other faiths at the time, Shi Huangdi allowed non-Leaglism, or Confucius, books to be burned, and the following year he burned hundreds of intellects, of non-Legalism thoughts, alive. His prime minister, Li Shi, quoted about the non-Leaglism burnings:

"I humbly propose that all historical records but those of Qin be burned. If anyone who is not a court scholar dares to keep the ancient songs, historical records or writings of the hundred schools, these should be confiscated and burned by the provincial governor and army commander. Those who in conversatior dare to quote the old songs and records' should be publicly executed; those who use old precedents to oppose che new order should have their families wiped out; and officers who know of such cases but fail to report them should be punished in the same way.

"If thirty days after the issuing of this order the owners of these books have still not have them destroyed, they should have their face tattooed and be condemned to hard labor at the Great Wall,' The only books which need not be estroyed are those dealing with medicine, divination, and agriculture. Those who want to study the law can learn it from the officers. The emperor sanctioned this proposal."

However, there were a few scholars who hid the copies of the forbidden texts, or they used their memory to remember passages from the texts for later usage. Later on, more problems had burst out around the time Shi Huangdi died in 210 B.C., and the dynasty had dried out less than twenty years after its honor.


The Han Dynasty

The Han Dynasty's first emperor was Liu Bang in 202 B.C. Liu Bang was brought up as a peasant and was illiterate. He did even follow the Legalist ways as he brought up Confucianism along with it. Some resources explained that punishments and rewards had also came intact with the rule of Legalism and Confucianism, and mentions that force doen't enhance the punishments unless it was beheading the officials by the use of power of the ruler. Surprisingly, he brought China to unite and supported trade, industry, agriculture, which enhanced China to be intact again.

Later on, Emperor Wendi took over in 179 to 157 B.C. along with Daoism beliefs upon his government, yet his grandson, Emperor Han Wudi, revived the Confucian ways to reign his empire from 141 to 87 B.C. This goes to show the dynasty was led by the Liu clan.

Emperor Wudi helped bring the Confucian books back, in new versions, upon the empire and support these books for examinations to the government servants and officials. Wudi also brought up a state education plan based on the studies of Confucius's works in a university called Imperial Academy. This was planned to brought up education for the people to take part in the dynasty's government. Even though China changed its ways to Confucianism, there were records of punishments and rewards. Especially written records that proved the times of the government officials who were beheaded.

Emperor Han Wudi

Even though Wudi was one of the most important empires of China's history, he, like many emperors, had fears while in control. Emperor Wudi's fear was based upon the merchants' power who gained great fortunes. Wudi thought their fortune would lead them to have the interest to be apart of China's politics, so he forbade them to buy land and strip them away from the participation of land specultaion and the ways of a landlord.

When the Han Dynasty brought up the ways of communication and and trade, it also brought up the Silk Road. The Silk Road has united China to the reality of other lands like Europe and the Middle East. It mainly brought up Silk from China, along with travelers back and forth among the lands. During the Han Dynasty, there were also technological advances made like paper, the wheelbarrow, and gunpowder, along with acupuncture.

At the time of the first Han dynasty, it depended on taxation to save the dynastyand control their territories, yet fell in the end as the rich civians refused to pay the taxes, which made a heavy burden upon the poor people more and more as the taxes were expected to be paid from them. Soon, revolts broke out in 22 BC as soon as the situation had gotten worse. Since then, court officials turned to the Han regent, Wang Mang, who agreed to become emperor in 8 AD, which offically ended the former Han dynasty.

The Han Dynasty was split up into two dynasties; there were the Western Han Dynasty from 206 BC to 24 AD, and the Eastern Han Dynasty from 25 AD to 220 AD. Though the Chinese people considered the Han dynasty as one, because of the revived Han dynasty from a former member of the Han clan. Between the original and the second dynasties are the difference of foreign policy, which was more of a success in the second Han dynasty.

Han Dynasty

In the control of Wang Mang, financial issues, especially on the taxes between the wealth and poor, wasn't solved that greatly. Along with his weak military and problems of nature occured, he was soon executed in 23 AD by the peasants once starvation and other living issues happened as well. After his death, various people took over the government until a wealthy landonwer (claimed as related to the Han dynasty) took over the government around 23 to 25 AD and restored the dynasty. Though later on, in 220 AD, the dynasty had fallen as fights broke out of the repeated ways of how the former Han dynasty ending without a new emperor to hold it any longer as the dynasty crashed with China's empire. This problem lasted at least for four centuries throughout the dynasty that was in the west and in the east.


Analysis

The Qin dynasty has its ways of Legalism and brutual issues, which caused the people of China to either had thought of the better times of China, or deal with the regulations under the rule of Shi Huangdi. On the other hand, the Han dynasty (all of it) faced tragic economy issues of the wealthy people to avoid paying taxes, which led to the peasants to suffer and fight for survival because of the financial cruelity.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the two dynasties were somewhat powerful, yet foible issues caused the two powers to crash down to an unpleasant end. The Qin dynasty and Shi Huangdi dampened the people as they used brutuality, such as books burnings and Legalism, as a practice. They were even rewards, since the emperor was frightened of his death in a homicial way, to please the people. In the Han dynasty, their ways of Confucianism and Legalism, in the beginning, wasn't as nice as the dynasty started where the Qin left off. This includes the finanical problems that led to the Han dynasty's fall---twice. Sadly, these empires had to end because of power, which most aimed for and died.



References

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Project Planning

State of Purpose: Having the knowledge of the past empires of China's history spread to others on this page, along with explaining when and how they affect the civilizations of the past to today. This article is created with the use of the wiki and other devices to make this part of the project to show its importance.