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Han China vs. Imperial Rome

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Han China vs. Imperial Rome

The Methods of political control used in Han China (206 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.) were similar to that of Imperial Rome (31 B.C.E. – 476 C.E.) in that both empires sought imperial expansion and the centralization of government. However, these societies greatly differed on their opposition to governing and the techniques used in maintaining control over their citizens. Both Han China and Imperial Rome were controlled under one central leader. The leader of the Han Dynasty had the overall power, but set up administrative districts governed by officials. The emperor also used Confucianism as a means to train people to become educated bureaucrats, who would then enforce his policies. However, the ruler of Imperial Rome set up a monarchy, disguised as a Republic, so that he could maintain complete control over his citizens. This allowed the citizens to feel as if they were contributing to government, and also allow the emperor to maintain control over his empire. Both societies also created more centralized governments by developing vast expanses of roads to promote trade, as well as levying taxes to stimulate economic prosperity. Han China and Imperial Rome also sought to expand the borders of their empires through imperial expansion. Han China invaded territories such as Korea and Vietnam and enjoyed uncontested hegemony in Central and East Asia. Imperial Rome likewise conquered all of the Mediterranean area. Both empires had vast armies to control and conquer new territories and the ones they all ready had within their grasp. However, unlike Han China, Rome was very tolerant and fair to its newly conquered territories by allowing them freedoms and exemption from taxes. In both empires the people and class structures played an important role in maintaining political control within the empire. In both Imperial Rome and Han China a patriarchal society was present and men were placed above women. However, women in Imperial Rome could play important roles within the house as well as run a small business. Also both empires faced pressures from social stratification: rich and poor. The wealth tended to have more privileges and land in both societies. The emperors in both attempted to maintain control by re-distribution of land. This mistake may have led to the fall of both of these great empires. Although Han China and Imperial Rome managed to become some of the great empires of the Classical era, what links their similarities and differences are the ways in which they established political control.

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