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The Great Wall of China:

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Katerina G.

on 20 October 2014

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Transcript of The Great Wall of China:

Did the Benefits Outweigh the Cost?
The very first part of the Great Wall of China was built by Emperor Qin (Chin) in the year 221 BCE. The wall was then continues by the rulers of the Han Dynasty.
In my opinion, they did not. Not only did the wall cost money, but it cost lives, each life worth more than money can buy. The only real benefit was protection mainly from the Xiongnu, and there were less of the Xiongnu alive than there were people who died to build the wall. This is why the benefits did not outweigh the cost.
Human Death
Aside from spending money on rather pointless tributes and building the wall, many people died because of the wall. Because of harsh conditions during building, (Document E) many peasants died while building the wall, and many soldiers died while defending the wall.
The evidence in the documents, plus what can be inferred shows that the building of the Great Wall of China was not worth it. Many people died, and a lot of money was spent. This is why I believe that the benefits did not outweigh the cost.
Paying Tribute To the Xiongnu
As well as building a wall to protect themselves from the Xiongnu, the Chinese paid tribute to them (Document C). With each year, the tributes increased. These tributes were paid in silk, and silk is very valuable. If the most they paid was 7,500 catties and 30,000 bales, this must have cost a lot of money.
The Great Wall of China
What You Need to Know
Why was the Wall built?
The Great Wall of China was built for protection against China's enemies. The most notable of these enemies was the Xiongnu (Shong-nu) or the Monglos to the north.
By Ekaterina Gribok
The Xiongnu
The Chinese considered the Xiongnu to be barbarians. According to the written records (Document B) they "-live on meat and cheese, wear furs, and posses no house or field."
How Was the Wall Built?
Did the Benefits Outweigh the Cost?
According to the Background Essay, the wall was built using dirt, a fairly primitive method, but it lasted and served its purpose. Later, the wall was built using stone.
Other Costs
Another major cost of building the Great Wall of China was traded material and trading in general. You had to go through the wall to get in and out of China to trade (Document A), and this may have intimidated traders from other kingdoms away from trading with China. This would have cost China a lot of money in trades.
Why the Wall?
Why did the Chinese pay tributes as well as having the Wall in place? Would the several tons of silk not been enough to keep the Xiongnu from attacking? Could the Chinese just have had the wall, without having to bribe the Xiongnu?
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