Chapter 7 -- China’s First Empire (Pages 199 – 201)

Ch’in (246 BCE)
- unifies China (note name similarities)
- regarded as tough, crude, & brutal
- welcomed Legalist Administrators
- true peace required a united country & a strong state
- favored conscription (draft)
- war is an acceptable means to extend the state
- human nature is selfish (humans like rewards, dislike punishment)
- laws should reward that which strengthens the state, punish that which weakens it
- strong state = good society
- despised merchants (parasites) – liked farmers
- despite harsh laws, farmers moved to Ch’in for stability
- Ch’in armies adapted nomadic like skills in fighting (cavalry)
- Once the Ch’in conquered all of China, they implemented the Legalist, centralized government
- Removed aristocrats (similar to European Lords) and brought them to the Ch’in capital
- Other reforms & achievements included:
- roads radiating out from the capital & canals
- unified Chinese writing system
- uniform axle lengths for carts
- uniformity in thought = burning books (Confucianism), buried scholars alive
- continued Great Wall (4500 m long, begun 7th century BCE)
- opulent Great Tomb, 700,000 workers labored for 34 years
- iron swords (13 centuries before the West)
- downfall – changed too much too fast
- taxes to pay for roads & the Wall
- commoners hated conscription and labor service
- noble hated loss of status
- merchants & scholars were oppressed
- rebellions in 210 BCE, following the death of the Emperor
- generals sent to quell the rebellion, joined rather than face punishment for failing
- Ch’in dynasty fell in 206 BCE

return to the History Box


site provided by blueladder.com