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Chap 2 - China

Chap 2 - China






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    Chap 2 - China Chap 2 - China Presentation Transcript

    • Chapter 2: Classical Civilization China
    • Introduction
      • China generated the first of the great classical societies
      • The regain remained isolated
      • Isolation limited its ability to learn from other intense and distinctive, Chinese identity
      • Individuals and human institutions existed within this world of balanced nature, not as in later Mediterranean philosophy, on the outside.
      • Chinese traditions about balance, Dao, and yin/yang were intrinsic to diverse philosophies and religions established in the classical period itself, and they provided some unity among various schools thought in China
      • Formative centuries of classical Chinese history were witness to a great many changes, as the religious and particularly the political habits of the Shang Kingdom
      • Shang Kingdom was classified as the world’s largest empire
    • Patterns In Classical China
      • China developed in many ways from its river valley period
      • Zhou dynasty featured centralized politics but important cultural innovation
      • Later dynasties emphasized order & centralization
      • China has maintained the clearest links to its classical period
      • A pattern was set in motion that lasted until the early part of the twentieth century
      • A family of kings, dynasty, would start its rule of China with great vigor, developing strong political institutions and encouraging an active economy
      • Dynasty grew weak, while social divisions increased in the larger society. Internal rebellions and invasions from the outside helped the dynasty grow weaker also
      • As the current ruling dynasty declined, another dynasty sprang up, usually from the family of a successful general, invader, or peasant rebel, and the pattern would start all over again
      • Chinese history was basically one big cycle repeating over and over again
      • Western history was more a steady progress from the past to the present
    • Patterns in Classical China (cont.)
      • 3 dynasty cycles cover many centuries of classical China
        • Zhou
        • Qin
        • Han
      • Zhou dynasty lasted from 1029 to 258 BCE
      • It flourished only until about 700 BCE
      • Zhou did not establish a powerful government
      • It ruled through alliances with regional princes & noble families
      • Initially came into China from the north, displacing its predecessor, the Shang rulers
      • The alliance systems the Zhou used as the basis for their rule were standard in agricultural kingdom
      • Rulers lacked the idea to control their territories directly, so they gave large regional estates to members of their families and other supporters hoping that they would remain loyalists
      • The supporters in exchange for land, were supposed to provide the central government with troops & tax revenues
      • This was considered China’s feudal period, where rulers depended on a network of loyalties and obligations to & from their landlords
      • This system was vulnerable to regional disloyalties and the ultimate decline of the Zhou dynasty
      • The decline occurred when regional landowners solidifies their own power base and disregarded the central government
    • Patterns in Classical China (cont.)
      • Zhou contributes in several ways to the development of Chinese politics and culture in their active early centuries
      • They first extended the territories of China by taking over the Yangtze River valley
      • The stretch of territory became China’s core, often called the “Middle Kingdom”
      • It provided rich agricultural lands (wheat in the north & rice in the south)
      • Extension complicated problems of central rule, for communication and transport from the capitol to the outlying regions
      • This is why the Zhou relied so heavily on the loyalty of their regional supporters
    • Patterns in Classical China (cont.)
      • Zhou worked to provide greater cultural unity in their empire
      • Discouraged some of the primitive religious practices of the Hwang Je civilization
      • Banned human sacrifice and urging more restrained ceremonies to worship the Gods
      • They also promoted linguistic unity, beginning the process having a standard spoken language called Mandarin Chinese
      • This resulted in the largest single group of people speaking the same language in the world at that era
      • Regional dialects, slang, and languages also remained
      • Educated officials began to rely only on Mandarin Chinese
      • Oral epic and stories in Chinese aided in the development of a common cultural currency
    • Patterns in Classical China (cont.)
      • The increase in cultural unity helps explain why the Zhou empire began to fail
      • Scholars were able to use philosophical ideas to lessed the impact of growing political confusion
      • Cultural innovation did not reverse the prolonged and painful Zhou downfall
      • Regional rulers formed independent armies regucing the emperors to little more than figureheads
      • Zhou system disintegrated between 402 and 201 BCE, the period known as the Era of the Warring States
    • Patterns in Classical China (cont.)
      • China might have gone the way of civilizations such as India, where a centralized government was more the exception that the rule
      • Another dynasty arose to reverse the process of political decay
      • One regional ruler deposed the last Zhou emperor and within 35 years, made himself the sole ruler of China
      • His title was Qin Snih Huangdi, or the First Emperor
      • Conferred on the whole country its name of China
      • He was a brutal ruler, but effective given the circumstances of internal disorder
      • He understood the China’s problem lay in the regional power of aristocrats
      • Worked vigorously to undo this force
      • Ordered nobles to leave their regions and appear at his court
      • China was organized into large provinces ruled my bureaucrats appointed my the emperor
      • Snih Huangdi was careful to select his officials from the non-aristocratic groups so they would owe their power to him and not dare to develop their own independent bases
    • Patterns in Classical China (cont.)
      • Shih Huangdi extended Chinese territory to the south, reaching present day Hong Kong on the South China Sea & even influencing northern Vietnam.
      • In the north, to guard against barbarian invasions, he built a Great Wall, extending over 3000 miles and wide enough for chariots to move along its crest
      • The wall, probably the largest construction project in human history, was built by forced labor
      • Qin dynasty was responsible for a number of innovation in Chinese politics and culture
      • Government furthered agriculture, sponsoring new irrigation projects and promoted manufacturing
      • Activist government also attacked formal culture, burning books
    • Patterns in Classical China (cont.)
      • Although it created many durable features of Chinese government, the Qin dynasty lasted a short time
      • On the emperor’s death, in 210 BCE, massive revolts organized by peasants broke out
      • One peasant leader defeated other opponents and in 202 BCE established the third dynasty of classical China, the Han dynasty
      • Han dynasty, which lasted over 400 years, to 220 CE, that rounded out China’s basic political and intellectual structure
      • Early Han rulers expanded Chinese territory, pushing into Korea, Indochina, and central Asia
      • Under the Han, working of the state bureaucracy also improved
      • The quality of the Han rule declined after about 2 centuries
      • Between 220 and 589 CE, China was complete chaos
      • Order and stability was finally restored, but by then, the classical period of Chinese civilization had ended
    • Political Institutions
      • The Qin & Han dynasties of classical China established a distinctive, and remarkable successful, kind of government
      • The Qin stressed central authority, where the Han expanded the powers of the bureaucracy
      • China relied heavily on tightly knit patriarchal families