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Hist80Final - Aubrey McMillan Essay Question#1 Throughout...

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Aubrey McMillan Essay Question #1 Throughout the history of East Asia, political institutions and ideologies vary extensively. Furthermore, in comparing China with Japan, there are many differences pertaining to the nature and structure of government within the two countries. China evolved from controlled monarchies and kingships into complex bureaucracies and eventually a single-party republic. Japan, likewise, seemed to continually adapt to Chinese politics, with the exception of the Heian aristocracy from the 8 th through 12 th centuries. The political institutions of both China and Japan have become more centralized and bureaucratic over time, allowing for economic and cultural growth within the two countries. China’s first historical dynasty, the Shang (1500-1045 BC), was structured as a controlled monarchy based on divination and ascertaining the gods (Barbieri-Low, lecture, 8/3/10). The subsequent Zhou Dynasty was also based around this ability of the king to contact the heavens. However, the Zhou also incorporated a feudal hierarchy, so that the king really only controlled a small territory; remaining territory was controlled by members of the royal family and alliance (Barbieri-Low, lecture, 8/3/10). These two dynasties illustrate China’s most primitive forms of government – monarchies and feudalism based on divination. The earliest civilization of Japan, the Jomon Culture (10,000-350 BC), greatly differs from those of the Shang and the Zhou. This culture had no state level society (Barbieri-Low, lecture, 8/11/10). Instead, people lived as successful hunter-gatherers in semi-sedentary civilizations. Since the people flourished in this type of culture, they had no need to further develop agriculture or government (Barbieri-Low, lecture, 8/11/10). It would not be until the 3 rd century AD that Japanese government took a definite shape.
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The Warring States Period of China (403-221 BC) proved to be a milestone in terms of political development. Autonomy of regional states developed, as well as centralization of power. This centralization of power included direct taxation of peasants, which was a break from the feudal system of the Zhou Dynasty. Armies grew in size, causing larger states to take over smaller ones. Also attributed to this time period was the rise of the agrarian-bureaucrat, allowing people to be hired for their skills rather than family ties. Lastly, powerful families began to replace kings, developing true dynasties. (Barbieri-Low, lecture, 8/4/10).
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Hist80Final - Aubrey McMillan Essay Question#1 Throughout...

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