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Why Was China Such An Advanced Society For So Long?

2485 words - 10 pages

Why Was China Such an Advanced Society for So Long?
Throughout history, China has been the center of many developments allowing for it to establish itself as an advanced society, one that has lasted through a number of dynastic cycles, an attempt towards the creation of a Republic, and still existing, People’s Republic of China, under the rule of China’s Communist party. Throughout this turbulent history China has made much advancement in site of its setbacks and has allowed itself to grow immensely and increase its stature, making it one of the world’s great powers. While most of China’s history can be analyzed through it its extensive periods under dynastic rule, the best way to look as China in terms of a successful advanced society is by analyzing its transformation under the Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty, and the formation of what is now known as Modern China. At the height of its rule, the Ming Dynasty oversaw a population of between 160 million (Fairbank, 128) and 200 million individuals (Ebrey, Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 197). In maintain strong control in the region the Ming oversaw large numbers of military forces which allowed them the ability to operate forcefully on both land and sea “Ebrey et al., East Asia, 271). Vast projects of renovation, development, law, military, and policing occurred under the reign of the Hongwu Emperor. The new and revised code of law that was created, the Daming Lu, was designed around Confucian principles and repealed certain clauses enacted under previous dynasties (Autocracy and China's Rebel Founding Emperors: Comparing Chairman Mao and Ming Taizu). This continued revision of law and commitment to Confucian ideals, principles, and beliefs help demonstrate a historical commitment to stability and societal cohesion which are factors that contribute significantly to a flourishing, advanced society. While laws were reformed under this period, the role of the education in relation to government power suffered a mixed fate. Hongwu helped to establish schools centered around the teachings of Confucius, expanding on China’s national school system (Brook, xix). Despite this reverence for Confucian scholarship and increased education during the time period, civil service examinations were briefly discontinued for a short amount of time, Hongwu consolidated power, and a strong central police, the Jinyiwei, was created to help consolidate this power. (Hucker, 13; Fairbank, 130). Under this dynasty, merchants and markets were rethought and in revisiting this shift in prevailing attitudes, one can see how China emerged as one of History’s advanced societies. This changing view was made apparent as people realized the inherent worth of merchants in relation to their impact on society as a whole. The acts of commerce merchants undertook, led to increased state revenues, used to fund education of China’s educated bureaucracy (Brook, 90–93, 129–130, 151). This trend of social upheaval...

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