World History, Chapter 8 -- Imperial China

Dynasties
Sui (589 – 618)
T’ang (624 – 755)
Sung (960 – 1279)
Yuan (1279 – 1368)

Second Empire – Sui Dynasty & T’ang Dynasty
Sui
- unified the north, then conquered the south to unify the country
- re-established the central government
- restored the tax base, continued work on the Great Wall
- built the Grand Canal, allowed the north to tap the wealth of central & south China
- hardships & casualties from the wars w/ Korea created discontent
- rebellions led by aristocrats, winner = founder of T’ang dynasty
- Sui created the foundation for T’ang much like the Ch’in was the foundation for Han

T’ang
- establishing peace allowed for an adequate tax base, extension of borders, Confucian scholars were employed & Buddhist temples flourished – these were the best years
- Government – centralized  (see page 228)
- 3 branches (Military affairs, Censorate, Council of State)
- Military supervised the armies (commander in chief)
- Censorate was the “watch-dog” reported abuses of government to the emperor
- Council of State met daily with the emperor, created policies
- all land property of the emperor
- all able-bodies farmers got land (equally – women got less)
- aristocrats were exempt from this and held their land
- public officials usually drawn from aristocrats
- public officials had to pass an exam – to earn a prestigious position
- exams were based on Confucius classics
- Empress Wu
- Entranced the heir to the throne (she was a concubine of the emperor)
- She was recalled (from the nunnery) by the heir when he took the throne
- She “removed” her rivals and became empress
- Murdered or exiled the statesmen who opposed her
- When emperor had a stroke, she took over the court
- After his death, she ruled, dethroned her son & became emperor herself
- Only woman emperor in Chinese history
- A fervent Buddhist
- Strong sexual appetites
- Removed when she was 80
- effects of her machinations seemed to strengthen central government

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