Han China vs. Mauryan/Gupta India

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Analyze similarities and differences in methods of political control in the following empires in the classical period.

Han China (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.)
Mauryan/Gupta India (320 B.C.E.-550 C.E.)

During the Classical period, Han China and Mauryan/Gupta India developed many methods of political control. Although these empires were located in different geographic regions, they both used social hierarchy, language, bureaucracy, and religion as a means of political control. Many of Classical India’s religious beliefs and bureaucratic practices contrasted each other in relation to the ways that they supported the methods of political control.

Like Han China, Classical India used their social structure system as a method of political control. Han China developed a social structure based on literacy, and Classical India introduced a caste system based on skin color. Literacy divided China educationally so that lower classes were not capable of taking the Civil Service Exam, and the higher classes were knowledgeably qualified to take this exam and become bureaucrats. The Indian caste system based on skin color created the idea of racial division by placing the lighter skinned people in higher classes and the darker skinned people in lower classes. Both of these systems had a class or Varna that consisted of unskilled people. In China, these people were referred to as “mean people”. In India, these people, or the “untouchables”, were not considered apart of the caste system. These unskilled people were not slaves, but they were given jobs that the rest of the population did not prefer. These social structures controlled the population by creating boundaries of division in the specialization of labor.

Although Han China had a strong, centralized government, Classical India’s bureaucracy was based on regionalism. China developed a bureaucracy that stressed central authority, and this created a more unified government system that was connected more...
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