Dynastic China Essay
LA/SS Pd. 5/6
Although the 418 years the Han Dynasty controlled would seem like a long time to have the ability to rule a country, the Han Dynasty exerted vast control over China itself to maintain a complex bureaucratic government during their whole rule. During this rule, Confucianism was highly held. Throughout the whole empire, there were classes to support everyone’s role in society and who to respect as their elder and superior. The order was like this: Emperor, King/Governor, State officials and Nobles and Scholars, Peasants, Artisans and Merchants, Soldiers, and at the bottom were slaves. One very important thing in the government of the Han dynasty was the civil servant. He who would server the emperor, Liu Bang, or the king at the time were held above others and allowed to see their ruler at times. Getting into this position was not easy. To get a job as a civil servant, you needed to pass a test of Confucius. If you knew everything about the social structure of Confucianism, then you would pass. If not, then you would fail. People would take special classes with scholars to learn the teachings of Confucius. All in all, the political structure of the Han dynasty was a strict one, but obviously, people were still able to flourish under its reign.
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The politics of China flowed into its economy making it very stable. Because of this, people gained the ability to afford such luxuries as books, which were just newly made with paper, as it was a brand new invention. Agriculture in China at the time was a hard job, but a very important and honored occupation. Because of the large 60 million population throughout the dynasty at the time, they needed a lot of food to feed the people, so they relied on agriculture to produce their food. That is why peasants were held above artisans and merchants in their classes. As for technology, a bunch of things were invented during the Han dynasty. The main ones were paper, the collar, the harness, the watermill, and firecrackers. All of this combined with the ever-productive Silk Roads that were built meant for a great technological advancement for China. When they traded the silk, they got many things back, sometimes even technology instead of currency or material. This added to their economic uprising. The paper was very useful for books, which is one of the reasons that the scholars could teach so many people the ways of Confucius so they could go and serve their emperor. There were some bad parts to the economy as well, as the government had put monopolies on the mining of salt, the brewing of alcohol, the forging of iron, and even the minting of coins. As you can see, there were a few bad things about the economy of the Han dynasty, but overall, the economy was stable enough to support a balanced lifestyle for over 400 years.
The social structure related to the political structure during the Han dynasty in almost every way. Because of the Confucius teachings during this time period, civilians were able to live a stable life. The classes in society were exactly the same as the political classes, with the emperor and all of the rulers on top, the teachers and officials as well as peasants in the middle, and the soldiers, merchants, and slaves down at the bottom. The only reason peasants were almost considered to be as high as officials and scholars was because their contribution to the welfare of China was extremely necessary for their survival. The peasants were in charge of farming and agriculture. Because of the prodigious population during that time, the food they produced was much needed for everyone in the empire. As for the education, the only education that was taught was of Confucius. The only reason you would need to know the teachings of Confucius would be if you wanted to become a civil servant, in which case you would need to take a test on Confucius. The woman’s role in all of this was to either be a wife, a nun, or a scholar. Women did not have much freedom, and they often lived quiet lives at home as Confucius had taught them to devote their time to their families. They mostly just made a contribution to their families economy by working in the field. In conclusion, the society of the Han dynasty was mainly led by the teachings of Confucius. It was a well organized and slightly strict society that kept people in line and content for hundreds of years.
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