Module 3 – Writing Assignment
While reading chapters 4, 7, and 13 in the textbook, the overriding theme that I recognized was that while changes to a government’s structure and the hardships that can be forced upon normal citizens may be terrible, they are by and large temporary. Throughout the multiple dynasties represented in the text there are a few that stand out as oppressive and the progress of the nation floundered. There are others in which the leadership did something right, and the culture flourished. To illustrate this you have only to look at the Zhou Dynasty, Qin and Han Dynasties, Sui and Tang dynasties, and the Heian form of government.
After the Zhou dynasty overthrew the Shang dynasty in 1050 BCE, the government became semi decentralized. Parcels of land were parted out to lords who could then pass that land on along the patriarchal line. The distribution of land to individual lords allows the country to progress as each individual lord builds their own city and quality of life across the region increases. Compared to the Shang dynasty that was overthrown, which centered on a more military oriented ruling style, the Zhou dynasty allowed time for the people of China to develop other skills beyond the art of war. This form of government is not without its flaws however, as individual lords lead to an increase in noble privilege and as a consequence a decrease in the quality of life of their subjects. This increase in noble privilege was combated by the Qin dynasty.
During the reign on the Qin dynasty the government was once again unified under a strong centralized government. Rather than using individual lords to govern the people, the Qin dynasty used strictly enforced laws to keep the ordinary people in their place. Though individual creativity is stymied during such a period, great advances as a nation can be made. The First Emperor of Qin standardized script, coinage, weights, measurements, and the building of roads;...