HAN GOVERNMENT 206-220 B.C.E.
Liu Pang, first emperor of Han
Liu Pang took over the Qin Dynasty, he created the new capital of the Han
Dynasty at Ch'ang-an. The Han Dynasty's goal was to unite China as one unified
whole and by doing that the state had total control over the people.
Although traditional Chinese
history shows the Han Dynasty making drastic changes in government after
the Qin Dynasty, evidence proves that the Han Dynasty continued to rule in
a way similar to the Qin Dynasty. It was only later that the Han Dynasty
added Confucian ideas into the former Legalist government. Some changes made
more economic expansion, strengthening the palace at the expense of civil
service, which is citizens farming and working for free, and weakening of
the state's control over peasants.
The Han Dynasty government was a centralized bureaucratic
government headed by a prime minister. By maintaining a centralized government
the Han was less harsh in rule than the Qin Dynasty. By doing this, the
Han Dynasty established an empire that rivaled the Roman Empire in prosperity,
power, and achievement.
There was a basic local government in counties. Ten to Twenty counties
formed a commandary, which was headed by the government.
The greatest Han emperor was Han Wu Ti, who became emperor at the age
of sixteen, in 141 B.C.E. and ruled for fifty-four years. He was responsible
for much of the Han Dynasty's expansion, taking over the south into Vietnam,
and north, into Korea. He also extended Chinese colonies and Chinese influence
towards central Asia. These influences led to the creation of the Silk Road,
a trade route that brought Chinese civilization to the West.
The Han military was so strong, the Han Dynasty expanded very far across
China. Often, the borders were attacked and because of the growing population,
food supplies became scarce. Eventually, the extreme expansion of the Han
Dynasty caused its downfall, mostly because of the high cost of military
The Han Dynasty was perhaps the most influential dynasty in all of Chinese
history, so much that in the Chinese language today, the people of China
are referred to as Han Yuan, or "Han people."
"Han Dynasty." Dynasties of Early Imperial China.
"The Han Synthesis." The Chinese Empire.
"Liu Pang." Chinapage.
Cassar, George H. and Goff, Richard D. and Holoka, James P. and Terry,
Janice J. and Upshur, Jiu-Hwa L."Han Government."World History Before1600:The
Development of Early Civilization. Volume I. Fourth Edition. Wadsworth
Group, USA. 2002. pp. 159-160.