HistoryReadingNotes - Reading Notes The Han Dynasty (206BCE...

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Reading Notes – The Han Dynasty (206BCE – 220) History o First emperor died in 210 BC while traveling o Orders were sent for heir General Meng Tian to commit suicide o Younger son became second emperor and had several brothers executed. o Legalist institutions designed to concentrate power in the hands of the ruler made the stability of the government dependent on the strength and character of a single person o Liu Bang was first emperor (Emperor Gao) (202-195) – he was from a modest family of commoners, so his elevation to emperor is evidence of how thoroughly the Qin Dynasty had destroyed the old aristocracy Emperor Gao o Consolidated empire o Gao did not disband the centralized government from Qin, but removed unpopular feature o Set capital at Chang’sn o Eliminated some laws, cut taxes, lessened burdens on people. o Now, China was given several decades to recover o Was inclined to restore “old” order (pre-Qin) Gave out large and autonomous fiefs to his relatives and chief generals However he realized that giving fiefs to mere followers was a mistake and spent much of his reign eliminating these holders that were not relatives Xiongnu Encounter o 200 BC – Xiongnu (under Maodun) attacked a recently appointed king o Xiongnu then attacked Taiyuan o Gao personally led an army to retake region, but this was not successful and Maodun surrounded the Han army. o Gao agreed toamek yearly gifts (grain, silk, etc.) to appease them o Subsequent emperors concentrated on pacifying the Xiongnu by providing them with princess brides These tactics did not work – Xiongnu kept raiding borders Han Emperor o Technically was “all powerful” but depended on his chancellor and other high officials for information and advice o Nine ministries were established to handle matters ranging from state ritual to public works Officials, graded by rank and salary, were appointed by the central government for their merit, not their birth and were subject to dismissal, demotion, or transfer (liike Qin) Local officials (magistrates and grand administrators) had broad responsibilites Collected taxes, judged lawsuits, commanded troops to suppres uprisings, etc. o After Gao’s death, widower Lu took over Lu was spiteful and vicious – after her death, her family was wiped out o Emperor Wu (141BC as teenager) – reigned for 54 years Initiated many of the most significant developments in Han culture/government Was a fan of the arts Wanted his officials to study Confucian texts Expanded empire through military means Paid for military campaigns to keep out Xiongnu Took over minting of coins, confiscated the land of bobles, sold offices and titiles, and increased taxes on private businesses 119BC government monopolies were established on production of iron, salt, and liquor (hurt merchants) Relative success of Han validated the imperial system
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2011 for the course HISTORY 80 taught by Professor Barberri-low during the Winter '11 term at UCSB.

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HistoryReadingNotes - Reading Notes The Han Dynasty (206BCE...

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