Chap 2 - China


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Chap 2 - China

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