Han and Roman Technology Dbq

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Becca Barrett
Period D
AP World History DBQ Essay (Revised Version)
September 3rd, 2009

From the 2nd century BCE through the 1st century CE, both the Han and Roman empires were dealing with the advancements in technology that come from being a sedentary civilization. There were many different attitudes between the two empires, but there were also differences in opinion within the empires themselves. In the Han Empire, some believed that technology was an essential part of an empire and requires government intervention, while others thought it was simply a gift that comes from enlightened leadership. In the Roman Empire, some believed that technology was necessary, but not necessarily enlightened, while others saw it as a way to show how great their civilization really was.

Han government officials felt that technology was indeed an important part of a civilization and required government intervention. The Han government official in Document 1 said, “I request that you…staff [water conservation offices] with people who are experienced in the ways of water. There should be one high official and one deputy with just enough workers to meet the need”. This shows that he felt it was important for the government to have some control, and to have people who knew what they were doing in charge. Huan Guan, another government official, in document 2 stated that, “Now that the state has monopolized the salt and iron trades, most of the tools provided to the workers are hard and brittle and the responsible government officials are often not available to take complaints”. This shows that he felt that government officials needed to be in charge so that this like the above would not occur. Both felt the need for the government to be in control. They both feel threatened by possible revolt in the people, and they don’t want to lose the status they have gained. One additional document that might have been helpful in this case would be an account of a worker and his...
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