HAN DYNASTY CIVIL SERVICE
Potential Future government officials taking examination
The Han Dynasty people were the first to use government
examinations as a way to choose government officials. The civil service
examinations were used as a way to select officials based on merit and ability,
rather than family lineage or political connections. This idea of came
from Confucian philosophy, which seeked a state ruled by men of ability
and virtue. The tests were based on the Confucian classics, so although the
exams were created so everyone had an equal chance of succeeding and being
named to a position, the wealthy had a better chance. Since books were very
expensive, only the richer families could afford to send their children to
a prestigious school or buy the expensive Confucian classics. This selection
process based on merit, meant that even the poorest family could have a member
claim a high-ranking positionin the government
The civil service that was created by the Han provided
stability to the Chinese Empire for over 2,000 years.
The civil service examinations were abolished by the Ch’ing dowager
empress Tz’u Hsi in 1905 due to pressure from Chinese scholars and intellectuals.
In the civil service examination's place, education of a Western type
curriculum was installed.
"Chinese Examination System." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.
Copyright © 2002 Columbia University Press.
"China's Domestic Order." Encarta Online. ©2003 Microsoft Corporation.
"Chinese Civil Service." Encyclopedia Britannica Premium Service.Encyclopædia
17 Mar, 2003 <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=24526>.