Chinese History: Ch’in –246 BCE











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

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