♥Political Ideas and Ideologies Unit-7 Political Traditions

♥Political Ideas and Ideologies Unit-7 Political Traditions

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Unformatted text preview: 20 Political Traditions UNIT 7 THE CONFUCIAN TRADITION Structure 7.0 Objectives 7.1 Introduction 7.2 Emperorship 7.3 Scholar-Officials 7.3.1 Examinations and the Structure of Bureaucracy 7.3.2 Divided Loyalties: Family vs. Emperor 7.4 The Dynastic Cycle 7.5 The End of Confucian Imperial Ideology 7.6 Let Us Sum Up 7.7 Key Words 7.8 Some Useful References 7.9 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises 7.0 OBJECTIVES Chinese empires, it has been said, used to stand on three legs: – the monarch, – the scholar-officials, and – the officials’ Confucian ideology. These entities have to be considered separately with each other, and in relation to China’s horse-riding, nomadic neighbours in the northern steppe. That will help us understand something of the pattern of China’s several dynasties and their fall. When at their peak, several Chinese empires commanded territory greater than anything else known to history; and when they broke up, there could be widespread disorder. This cycle of the rise and fall of empires can be seen, repeatedly, for more than two thousand years in the history of this great civilisation. This unit concerns itself with the following questions. • What were the principal ideas in the Confucian tradition, and what was its role in the Chinese imperial rule? • What was the relationship between the Chinese and the horse-riding nomads of the northern steppe? • How could the Chinese polity return, repeatedly, to a particular set of institutions and ideology? • Why did complex, spectacularly successful empires disintegrate repeatedly? 7.1 INTRODUCTION Historical knowledge... is always knowledge of processes, not learning about the sequence of incidents but of the logic of structures ( Sudipta Kaviraj) . Confucianism is a part of China’s history; and in trying to grasp that complex past, we begin with the facts of geography. The vast Himalayan and related ranges separate China from the Indian subcontinent to the west and the south-west; the great central Asian steppe stretches out in the north; the Pacific Ocean lies to the east; and the Indo-Chinese peninsula to the south. Despite the isolation, China’s great wealth has attracted horse-riding conquerors from the north as well as merchants from far and wide, over land and sea, down the millennia. 21 The Confucian Tradition China: Ecological Parameters 22 Political Traditions The massive snow-capped mountains feed great rivers which meander through the country, flooding the lands, especially in their deltas. Hwang Ho, or Yellow River, and Yangtze are the biggest and the best known. Hwang Ho brings down masses of silt, depositing it downstream, and is therefore not navigable inland as the Yangtze is; but the rivers were supplemented by a maze of canals, which were built in bursts by hard-driving emperors since the 3rd century B. C. Transport along waterways was economical, and much more important than on roads, until the 20th century....
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♥Political Ideas and Ideologies Unit-7 Political Traditions

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