Emperor Kangxi: Valedictory Edict
Emperor Kangxi was considered and still is thought of as one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history. Kangxi’s reign was longer than that of any other ruler in Chinese history. One of his most notable achievements was uniting China after the turmoil upon the collapse of the Ming. A main reason for the Chinese granting him the mandate of heaven or granted the right to rule China from permission of the heavens was his knowledge and respect for Chinese heritage and culture. Emperor Kangxi recorded a Valedictory Edict in December twenty third, 1717 as an attempt to display sincere thoughts of what he believed it takes to be a virtuous ruler. Kangxi wrote the Edict to reveal his deepest feelings of a virtuous ruler, to verify his sincerity by writing the Edict himself, and to declare the everyday hardship that comes with ruling properly. Kangxi believes that a good emperor is careful in his rulings and maintains a steady balance between leniency and strictness. He reveals that being a good emperor requires a full commitment of all a person’s energies to make important decisions. He also states a good emperor has to take into account every detail, such as ruling on a government matter while not neglecting any facts and how they could affect not only the upper class of society, but also to the common peasant. Kangxi believes that a weight of a decision can never be under-estimated, because Kangxi says, “A moment’s carelessness could damage all future generations.” This quote demonstrates that if an emperor is lackluster in his decision making, it can affect the quality of life of future generations. He dismisses the notion that an emperor should concern himself only with general principles. He believes that an emperor needs to recognize the smallest details. Kangxi states, “Failure to attend to details will end up endangering your greater virtues.” He not only preaches attention to detail; he...
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