Unlike most countries in the World, the history of China aligns itself to the various dynasties. Chinese is one of the earliest and most political stable civilizations. The imperial political system ancient dynasties like Zhou dynasty was formulated by a central political system and had criteria for the appointment of its officials. Although the leaders had complete authority over their subjects, during this period, there were little political revolts and rebellions. According to the kingdom ideology, the subjects viewed the emperors as god sent leaders; therefore, acting against their will was working against the gods.
This ideology gave those in authority an opportunity to exercise complete power over their subjects. Through history, these dynasties have gone through repeated cycles of both political unification and fragmentation. In the earliest dynasties, these dynasties have gone through repeated cycles of both political consolidation and fragmentation. In the earliest dynasties, the critical factor behind the prolonged unity, longevity, and political stability of the dynasties were through listening and acting to the interests of the subjects like tax reliefs and provision of land for the purpose of settlement and cultivation. This kind of actions produced happy subjects who were delighted within the authority. The purpose of leaders was mainly to exercise control over their subject, but after the introduction of the philosophical belief like Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, the role of leaders dramatically change as leaders were required to cater for some basic needs of their subjects.
In addition, during this period, life was relatively simple since most people either depended on agriculture or rearing of domestic animals to sustain their lives. From the guidance of the teachings, leaders equally divided the land for all those who had little or none while at the same time reduce the amount of tax, which was mainly through the donation of produce after harvest. Therefore, during seasons of low returns, the subjects were given relieves to minimise the burden on their side. The leaders knew the benefits of a stable economy. For instance, “during the reign of the Han dynasty, near fertile grounds near the northern frontiers launched for agriculture, and the political system diverted a significant amount of resources towards the development of advanced farming practises through innovations of wheelbarrow and seed drill.”(Time Maps). Taxes were reduced, and the leader Han willingly disbanded some of his armies to help the peasants, therefore, they rushed to them when called upon.
Since the ancient China society at that time was mostly a rural setting, majority of who were farmers who occupied small villages across the kingdom; therefore, most of these people depended on this foundation to thrive. Over time, the economy evolved from a simpler economy to a more dynamic one as the dynasties developed trade ties with other dynasties. As the government become more complex and the society was now being divided into different social classes, care towards the peasants faded away. The increased wealth from trading with other states around China turned the leaders in corrupt and authoritative towards their subjects; as a result, they started depriving the locals their fundamental rights through increasing the amount of tax which was now being collected extreme force.
In addition, corrupt officials grabbed land from the peasants for their own personal benefits. Impunity within these kingdoms sparked the occurrence of revolts and rebellions within the leaders themselves and from the subjects. To solve the problem, the leaders went as far as carrying out the assassination, announced the decree of mercy to those who surrender and burning books of thoughts and killing scholars. Most schools of thoughts were particularly targeted since they spread teachings that were against the favours of the dynasties. For instance, Confucianism was based was focused on the moral transformation of individuals particularly rulers, which Confucius advocated that they should be pure, noble people who are capable of guiding and uniting the empire by abiding by Heaven's authority. Failing to find such kind of rule, Confucius diverted his teachings towards his disciples by transforming the society through the establishment a wider circle of individuals who were educated as per the ways of the former rulers (45). At the beginning of the Han dynasty, a great number of wealthy landowners had greatly benefited. As the economy thrived, the emperor forgot about the peasants since all his interest diverted to the wealthy landowners. As a result, many peasants lost their farming lands to become tenant farmers. In addition, the farmers had to forcefully give part of their products as a tribute to their masters.
Increased wealth leads to the establishment of huge estates and economic prosperity in the dynasties, but life quality progressively deteriorated on the side of the peasants. The enormous support from the peasants which had lasted for centuries started to decline, therefore there frequent attacks from the mob of peasants which was a great challenge to the rulers. This missing balance in the society caused a lot of rebellion and political assassination, which lead to either the killing or displacement of the rulers. Therefore peace and prosperity in these kingdoms become a story of the past. For instance, despite Wang getting favour from the peasants, the programs he started were poorly interpreted and executed by the officials under him; therefore, there were increased cases of unemployment and resentment of his rule from the peasants who he represented. Constant upraises by peasants lead to the assassination of Wang by an angry mob who accused him exploitation of power through selfless reforms (Mark).
In all the dynasties, most of the emperors believed that they had a mandate of heaven to lead China. This concept was infringed by the ideological teachings which the rulers took as an advantage to continue the excess authoritative rule. Therefore, besides the laws that guided the successions of leaders and the mandate to heaven, public favour was the reality behind the long enjoyed prosperity in these dynasties. “Everyone belongs to everyone else”(Aldous,15 ). In earlier dynasties, these teachings of thoughts acted as a shield that protected the leaders from rebellion; the outcome of these rebellions was obviously fragmentation. The leaders were very keen in checking and formulating policies that extensively controlled the forces of fragmentation by quickly detecting the possibility of the occurrence of a revolt by appointing spies across the whole empires that reported back to them; therefore they were able to contain upheavals. It is, however, important to keep in mind that large scale corruption, especially from unchecked officials, caused the rapid spread of these disorders and disturbances.
From the study of these dynasties, our conclusion after the analysis leadership history of these China dynasties is that the progressive population increase in China is likely to lead to the change of these. Even in the modern communities, policies that favour the development and welfare of the citizen are usually easily accepted and adopted without denial, therefore, in countries with this kind of setting experience a relatively long period of peace and stability. Many of these ancients' dynasties ignored the reality that the uncontrolled corruption cases in the region. This disaster led to the emergence of warlords, who mainly emerged from the ranks of military commanders in support of the peasants and oppressed. Despite the modern advancement of civilization and culture, the indifference between the wealthy landowners and the peasants continued throughout many decades.
“Society in ancient China.” Time Maps, 2018. https://www.timemaps.com/encyclopedia/ancient-china-society/
Yao, Hsin-Chung, and Xinzhong Yao. An introduction to Confucianism. Cambridge University Press, 2000
“Ancient China.” Ancient Encyclopaedia, 2012. https://www.ancient.eu/china/
Huxley, Aldous. The brave new world. Ernst Klett Sprachen, 2007.
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