Before the Qin, China was divided into kingdoms with kings. Starting with the Qin, China developed into a kingdom.
- Gave the ultimate power to the emperor -- Heaven's son
- Created a tree-shape government that has a central government controled by the ultimate person -- the emperor. In the central government, many new positions are created such as the prime minister. Before Qin, the emperor named many kings and aristocrats helping him to rule the empire. Qin discarded such rules.
- The entire empire has to follow the laws created by the Central Government.
- At the beginning of the Han, Liu Bang named many of his relatives (with
the same last name) kings who owned certain lands. This act was
meant to help the emperor rule the empire. But during the reins of
emperor Wen (Han Wendi), these kings set their own laws, casted their
own coins, collected their own taxes and were in opposition to the
central government publicly. Han Wendi took some measures, solved
the problem but did not cut its root. When emperor Jin (Han Jingdi)
came to power, the rich kingdom of Wu was very domineering. Jingdi
thus took an idea given to him by a high officer and weakened the
powers of these kings. After the Kings' failed revolts, Han Jingdi weakened the powers of these kings further.
- China is divided into three kingdoms, Wei, Wu and Shu, each with an emperor.
- The three kingdoms are constantly in war with one another.
- All kingdoms are united around 280 AD by Jin.
Jin, Northern, Southern
- China is once divided into many countries, kingdoms, etc.
- China is unified again.
- The system of selecting officials through a civil service examination is perfected during the Tang.
- Empress Wu Zetian started a "self-recommend" policy to attract talents into the government
- China is ruled by foreigners for the first time
- The rulers of Yuan focused much more on conquests than anything else
The central government of Ming was more despotic than ever. Emperor
Ming Taizu abolished the prime minister and established a cabinet that
was controlled by him alone. A group of soliders named "Jin Yiwei was
established to enhance the controlling of officials and civilians.
Afterwards, a special secret service named Dong Chang and Xi Chang
made up of eunuchs were established. This service had more
authorities than Jin Yiwei.
At first these institutions actually defended the government, but later
was in direct relation to the decline of the Ming dynasty because the
eunuchs implied many cruel activities on the people. Though Ming's
power was centered, the effect of such was not obvious. Towards late
Ming, politics was extremely corrupted. Eunuchs had the special rights
while domestic trouble and foreign invasions came one after another.
Financial operation was difficult. In 1581 a batch of bureaucrats headed
by Zhang Juzheng struggled to imply a reform on military, politics and
economics, the end of Ming could not be prevented.
The autocratic government of Qing was more autocratic than Ming. When this government reached its peak, any important events such as military events were completely in control by the emperor. The emperor also was in direct command of chief ministers in every cabinet. During Yong Zheng's rein, Jun Jichu (cabinet of military) was established to strengthen the imperial control (the one who has the control of the army has control of the country).
The Qing did employ many talents and filling the government with many Hans as well as Mongols (although any important post was often occupied by Mongols). However because the Mongols are not native Chinese, they fear the revolt of Hans. Especially during Yongzheng's rule, Wenzi Yu (first started in Qin) was started again to harshly suppress scholars from expressing any anti-Qing thought. Many innocent people were killed in the name of "anti-Qing" and "pro-Ming"; many good books were burned or banned.
The emperors of the Qing often went around the country inspecting the empire. Such act helped to strengthen the hold on the Chinese people. The Qing also sent deligates to Tibet and Xin Jiang, setting up the Da Lai and Ban Chan, etc.. On the whole, the Qing, having such a big empire was able to make the Qing a peaceful, multicultural place.