THE QIN DYNASTY221 BCE – 206 BCE • Administrative Institutions • Projection of Military Power • Success through trade and economic integration • Social Structure • Labor Systems • Role of patriarchy • Reasons for decline
Setting the Stage: The Qin • Previous rulers: Zhou Dynasty • Zhou ruled from 1027 BCE to 256 BCE. • “Warring States” period: 475 BCE-221BCE. • Feudal society… the Qin would emerge and unify China.
The First Emperor • Qin Shihuangdi (r. 221-210 BCE) founds new dynasty as “First Emperor” • Dynasty ends in 207, but sets dramatic precedent • Basis of rule: centralized bureaucracy • Massive public works begun • Precursor to Great Wall
In order to organize their subjects, rulers created “administrative institutions”. • Centralized Government • Abolishes old “feudal states” and divides China into 36 military districts, each ruled by appointed officials. • Use of inspectors (spies) to keep local officials in check. • Shi Huangdi forces all “noble families” to live in the capital in Xianyang. • Nobles land was divided up amongst the peasants who had to pay very high taxes.
LEGALISM • Shi Huangdi adopts Legalism as his primary ruling philospohy. • Read “Memorandum on the Burning of Books” p.80 in the Duiker book. • Discuss the questions with your group members.
Imperial governments projected “military power” over larger areas. • Example: The Great Wall • Needed to prevent raids from nomads to the North. • What did the “Great Wall” say to outsiders? • Also builds numerous roads and canals to help improve transportation.
Promotion of trade and economic integration help promote the success of empires. • Standardized: • Laws • Currencies • Weights and measures • Script • Previously: single language written in distinct scripts • Building of roads, bridges • Government Monopolies: mining, wine making, and salt distribution. • Private commerce heavily taxed.
Hierarchical “social structures” • The Emperor • Landlords (ruled over the 36 military districts) • Merchants • Peasants
“Labor Systems” were used to for food production, public works projects, and to reward the elites. • Forced labor used for most projects such as the Great Wall and “Terra Cotta” soldiers. Peasants were required to serve months at a time. • While peasants did receive land from the new emperor, they were taxed heavily.
Patriarchal Rule • Family roles similar to those found in other early civilizations. • Emphasis on unity and the power of the husband and father. • Women had clearly defined roles. Generally were subordinate. • Women could and did exercise influence behind the scenes.
REASONS FOR THE DECLINE OF THE QIN • Attacks on intellectuals. • Heavy tax burden placed on the peasants to fund military conquests and public projects. • Brutal rule EXAMPLES: 476 scholars buried alive, book burnings….