China in the Qin and Han Dynasty China Unifies and gets on with life
Legalist Thinkers Shang Yang (390-338 BCE), The Book of the Lord Shang Han Feizi (280-233 BCE) Forced to commit suicide by Li Si Li Si was his partner in philosophy and became the advisor to the first Emperor of the Qin. He didn’t want a rival out there, so he “took care of it” Two strengths of the Legalist state Agriculture Military Emphasized development of peasant, soldier classes Distrust of pure intellectual, cultural pursuits Historically, often imitated but rarely praised
Qin (Chin) Dynasty Founded by Qin Shihuangdi (QSHD); base was land grants from Lord Shang Yang Lasts from 221-206 BCE Short, but sets precedents and has massive impact Creates centralized bureaucracy Government is run by a web of civil servants, each with a supervisor. At the center of the web is the Emperor who makes all final decisions. Paranoia rules.
Image of Qin Shihuangdi
China under the Qin
Standardization under the Qin Mandated the following be the same throughout the empire: Axel lengths Weights and Measures Writing system Monetary system Thought Why? What benefits come to a leader for doing these things? A country? Would China have unified long term without them?
People don’t go along always Resistance to the Qin is futile… Emperor orders the execution of all critics Hates, hates, H8s Confucians All books are to be burned, except for Agricultural texts Metallurgical texts The loss of culture is huge!
Massive Public Works projects Roads, bridges and a rather important Great Wall Begun during the Qin to protect the kingdom against barbarians. Was a series of walls that were connected Built using conscript labor Over 100,000 died during the construction project and were buried in the wall.
Obsessed with his own tomb 700,000 workers conscripted to work on it His slaves, concubines and craftsmen were sacrificed and buried with him and the terra cotta army he ordered to be built to protect him in the after life. Buried from 207-ish BCE until a farmer digging a well in 1974 pulled up a terra cotta head…
End of the Qin Emperor QSHD dies. Likely due to ingesting large quantities of mercury But Li Si covers it up while he tries to dispose of the son. Army revolts, Li Si and son both killed, and chaos breaks out.
Han (Hahn) Dynasty forms Army general Liu Bang forms new government Takes as his family name the name of the river in his village: Han Dynasty runs from 206 BCE-220 CE Brief interruption from 9-24 CE So there is an Early Han and a Later Han…
Early Han Relaxes Qin rules/restrictions, but keeps things orderly—no chaos Set up another bureaucracy, but de-centralized it at first to regional government Quickly re-centralizes once there is a rebellion.
Expansion time Han Wudi (third emperor, rules 141-87BCE) decides to grow the empire’s territory Raises taxes to fund military and other public works. Sets up imperial university for educated civil servants 3,000 grows to 300,000 by end of Han Dynasty A military guy, but supports Confucians
Two different images of Han Wu Di
HWD Expansion Invasions of Vietnam, Korea Constant attacks from Xiongnu Nomads from Central Asia Horsemen Brutal: Maodun (210-174 BCE), had soldiers murder his wife, father Han Wudi briefly dominates Xiongnu; abandons policy of appeasement
Han expansion at the time of HWD, ca 87 BCE
Population change in Han Dynasty Population grows rapidly, tripling to 30 minutes Agricultural production takes off Actually grows more than the people can consume.
The end is nigh Overstretch starts out Military is spread along a very long border Costs lots of money to field this army Taxes go up and up To pay for the above. Land confiscated when taxes not paid Gap between haves and have nots grows Slavery increases Banditry and rebellions increase
Wang Mang (9-23 CE) Starts off as a regent for the Han emperor who was a 2 year old child. Kills the kid and takes power for himself. Attempts to enact land reform Resolve some rebellions through redistribution of land on an equal basis. Made things worse. He is killed and eaten by his own troops in 23, Han cousin “restores” Han Dynasty
Later Han Dynasty Later Han emperors crack down on rebellions with varying degrees of success. Yellow Turban Uprising is a big one that nearly ends the dynasty. Royal court gets distracted by internal intrigue Barbarians invade and Han can’t respond Han Dynasty formally ends in 220CE Next 4 centuries, China consists of three kingdoms, each maintaining the traditions of the Han. So they are mini-Han-style Dynasties