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Systems in Terms of China's Dynasties and the Middle Ages

This is a a presentation of the systems in China's Tang/Song Dynasty and in the Middle Ages.

Kena Rindfleisch

on 11 December 2016

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Transcript of Systems in Terms of China's Dynasties and the Middle Ages

Systems in Terms of China's Dynasties and the Middle Ages
WCO: Evaluate and critique the degree of sustainability of different systems
21st CS: Global Awareness
4C: Critical Thinking
Systems in Terms of China's Dynasties and Middle Ages
Kena Rindfleisch
Mr. Phillips
World History
20 October 2016
To Look at these times in History, We have to Go Back in Time
Now on to Asia and Europe
One of the first systems one comes upon when looking at the Tang and Song dynasties is the government’s structure. It all starts with choosing government officials. As Our Human Story states, “...the Tang revived the civil examination system first used by the Han”. With the Han having started embracing the idea of Confucian ideas, the civil examination system was placed greatly on knowing Confucian classics and ideas. This system would last past the Song dynasty, in fact if would it, “...would prevail in China until the overthrow of the last emperor,” (Connell et al, pg 280). These ideas of attempting to establish a meritocracy (society that is led by leaders who obtained authority through talents, not power and/or wealth) was clearly seen through the time. Using this information from Our Human Story, one can see that the parts of the system, civil examination, Confucian and all people are all interconnected. It is the idea of the Confucian that created the civil examination that is a test to create higher values in people, in terms of relations, and other traditional Chinese ideas. Then with these open tests comes the fact that “It also allowed talented and industrious members of lower classes to rise in Chinese society…”(Connell et la, pg 280). This held out the Dynasties for a while, but when it is disturbed it crumbles, like removing the right stone from a wall. The Tang and Song dynasties had a government system that showed meritocracy, but it could have been setup to withhold obstacles.
The Original Systems of China
Another system within the dynasties (more so in the Song than Tang) was the economy. Within the Song dynasty economy was a large part with having, “The Song Emperors encourage both agriculture and trade,” (Connell et al, pg 282). Within the song dynasty, some changes were made. First there was the farmers who had to once pay taxes in the form of sharing crops, but with the Song, they could sell crops and pay a certain portion and keep the rest. As one can infer, this allowed greater economy with more people able to buy goods (whether foreign or nearby). Another aspect of this system is the merchants, whom were at this time encouraged to trade with far foreign countries. From Our Human Story, it was said that, “Large Chinese ships called junks sailed across the China Sea and the Indian Ocean…They carried finished goods…”. Along with this travel route was the silk road (that was a series of routes that connected places). These were part of how the economy system worked in terms of import and export. The gentry (landowning upper class) grew during this time (Connell et al, pg 282). Ideas through economy caused new innovations such as paper money, magnetic compass, gunpowder and more (Connell et al, 282). All of these parts, Junks, Silk Road, merchants, and farmers, all caused the creation of this economic system. The Junks and Silk Roads were two essential parts when talking about the actual trade with other countries, without these, much less trade would have happen. The merchants were also essential for the fact that they were the actual people to trade, without them, no trade would have happened, and the Junks and Silk Road would have been worthless. The farmers are also another aspect because with change, they got money and were able to be consumers and help support trade. These parts and economy worked hand in hand to advance the civilization.
During these two dynasties, social structure also changed. As Our Human Story states, that kids obeyed their parents, wife obeyed her husband, and everyone obey the emperor. Women were placed much lower than men, and so they got not that many benefits. With the change during the Song dynasty also camena change for women as well. It was said that, “with the spread of education, more women learned to read, and some devoted themselves to literary pursuits,” (Connell et al, pg 282). Women were still restricted, but not as much, thus it shows that the social structure was changing. Also during this time of economic prosperity was the fact that more people climbed up the class rank, gentry grew along with the new government officials being of some lower classes. Along with these climbs was the fact that merchants went from being looked down to living comfortable lives. Even peasants ended up living more comfortable lives (Connell et la, pg 282). Overall, over this time people -parts of the social structure- all ended up moving up because of one another. Farmers had more money and used merchants, thus both had more comfortable life. With the extra money, people also became more rich, and education became larger and women were impacted. Without one place moving up in the social structure, a place could go lopsided and fall.
The government structure and social structure in China are connected. The ideas of the government are basically based on the perfect idea of social structure, and also the government is basically a form of social structure with rules though. As Our Human Story stated, the civil service examination, “...allowed talented and industrious members of lower classes to rise in Chinese society”. Thus the government's’ ways were impacted by social structure and the people were impacted by the government.
The government structure and economy were also connected. During the Song Dynasty this was quite evident. It was the government that started to change to help the economy to grow. With farmers, “...Song rulers allowed farmers to use money to pay their taxes. This policy enabled farmers to sell crops, pay their taxes, and then with any money left over, buy products…” (Connell et al, pg 282). This allowed more comfortable lives for farmers and allowed for more money in trade that helped the economy. The government also needs the economy for the money is what it needs to be withheld.
The last two systems, economy and social structure, are also connected. The money impacts different people, like more money or less. It was the increase in economy that switched around the social structure with extra money. With extra money came extra education so, “with the spread of education, more women learned to read, and some devoted themselves to literary pursuits,” (Connell et al, pg 282). Thus an impact is shown on social structure. Economy is also impacted by social structure, because it is the people that cause money to be made or loss.
Out with the Old and In With the NEW
Systems in Middle Ages
Within the time of the middle ages, there was a much less organized government. Based off of the Feudal system, the monarchy was separated across the land. Though the king was at the top, his barons (lords) he granted land, which then they ruled over. This leads to the point that, “Although lords pledged loyalty to the king,... a king had little power outside his own domain…,” (Cornell et al, pg. 310). In tern for loyalty then, these powerful lords gave fiefs (plots of land) to knights who intern protected them (Cornell et al, pg 310). The government was very poorly structured having land given to powerful for trust. Also with this came peasants whom were tied to land being serfs to provide for the kingly lord. Basically the government was power handed down, until the rest were almost slaves. The parts were connected in this system, because if power wasn’t given out, then others would turn and fight for power. Also the serfs are connected because they were the weak and worthless who could be controlled (Cornell et al, pg. 315). Overall, the government was enough to hold for a while, but it was a matter of paying and getting.
The economy was very reliant on the the manor, the land owned by the lord. The Manor is the center of life, and most people would spend their whole life within it and never go outside the boundaries. The manors, ‘were separated from one another by miles of dangerous uninhabited forest. Each manor needed to be self-sufficient,”(Cornell et al, pg. 316). Within each manor is a blacksmith, mill, bakehouse, brewery (but fee to use to lord), and much of crops and common pasture was made by peasants for the lord. Few things were bought from the outside world. Basically the, “...manor was the center of life,” (Cornell et al, pg. 316).The economy was only of one area that is isolated on world. The parts of this economy are interconnected with the fact that everything basically has to come from the creation of peasants for the lord. If one place missed, all would die. Overall the economy gave the lord wealth, and extracted from the peasants for life.
Just as the government is, the social system was based off of the social pyramid created by the feudal system. “At the top, barons, the most powerful and wealthy noblemen received their fiefs from the king,” (Cornell et al, pg. 311). This loyalty was given down on to lesser lords and on to knight to help one maintain power. As Our Human Story states, “Feudalism was not an entirely rigid class system. An ambitious vassal who served his lord well could climb the pyramid of power,” (Cornell et al, 311). But, at the bottom was the peasants whom had no control over their life usually in seifs and bound to their lord. This social pyramid basically gave power down, to none. This social structure provided power and wealth up the line to the lords, but not really to the kings. Along with this, is the fact that the parts are interconnected in this system. If there was not peasants, the lords would have no way to sustain and if there was no knights, in wars, they would be less. Without a king, then no one would be connected. Overall, the social structure was very powerful in determining one’s life in the time of the middle ages.
The government and the social structure are connected. Both of these systems are connected to the feudal system. The government was basically, “...a chain of interlocking loyalties. By exchanging land, service, and protection, the nobility gained some security and order in uncertain times,” (Cornell et al, pg. 311). The wealthy were trying to take power and spread it out to keep power, was a main way these systems were connected. Without giving away loyalties as a form of government, the social structure wouldn’t be the same way because power wouldn’t be set up. The same goes for the other way.
The government was also connected to the economy in the middle ages. With the government setting up mini rulers with land, this created the manors, lands. A basic economic rule at the time was, “Each manor needed to be self-sufficient,”(Cornell et al, pg. 316). This means that the people in the manor also depended on people within the manor. So if there this economy system wasn’t set up people would die and without the government, the economy would be worthless.
Within the Middle Ages, the economy and social structure are closely connected like the government and economy are. The economy was able to flourish being by itself because of the social structure. With having the peasants at the bottom and controlled by having to “...spend much of their time in unpaid labor for the lord,” (Cornell et al, pg. 316). This let the economy of living for the lord and only by the lord happen. Without the economy all would die and without the social structure, work wouldn’t get done.
Out with the old and in with the NEW
The setup of the the systems during the Middle Ages were not the most efficient. The stability was very low, all it could take to break the nation would be a shift in one of the systems, it could change the view and way of all of the systems. With the economics, it could mean death possibly. With this, the systems can be seen to be very weak and a rebellion could destroy the whole set up. A new set up would ideal looking at the past. Looking at economics, trade would be a great aspect with imports and exports going on frequently. This would allow for more ideas and goods to make its way through Europe. With the Song dynasty in China, “peasant farmers...also benefited from the general rise in the standard of living,”(Connell et al, pg. 282). This was because of increased trade and less control. Knowing about how much power was in the past a way to benefit from the trades is that merchants would be taxed a certain price to come into a manor. This would be a way to gain wealth and make it better for other people. However, predicting the idea of money, the taxes would raise high, so to prevent that, there would be a set law and failure to obey would be loss of land. Going on would be the government, instead of the king giving away most of the land, he just has a lord watch the land and the economics there and failure to do this would also be loss of control. However, to give the king power, he would collect taxes from the lords to support his armies. With knights, lords could provide them control over a certain amount of land, that is the kings, where they can collect taxes and pay the king taxes. Then with the social structure, it would stay quite a bit the same, but it is through knowledge you advance on the pyramid not wealth. Basically the creation of a meritocracy would happen to allow a greater value of education to allow women to be educated. As one can see the result of a more structured, united would be a better age that result in advancements, rather than none.
Works Cited
O'Connell Pearson, Patracia, and John Holdren. World History: Our Human Story. Roanoke: RR Donnelley, 2014. Print.
"Make tomorrow worth a while."
The setup of the system during the Tang/Song Dynasty in China was okay, but as all things, it can be improved. The stability was decent for these dynasties for they, “...ruled China for a combined six hundred years,” (Cornell et al, pg. 282). However, this dynasty was still unstable, when it can to rebels, the dynasty would fall and this was one of the number one issues through the years. Then the nation would be in turmoil. Moving on, the economics of trading was a great aspect, it was clear that the use of waterways and the silk roads were effective. In a new system this would have to be kept to allow the people to stay content. However, I would advise to trade with Europe also to obtain their great ideas too and to get more nations united. The idea of meritocracy is okay with having anyone with smarts be the ruler, but it should have another aspect of education should be that of the life in other shoes, so that one of one class only doesn’t rule by that class. Also the land should be broken down into a few rulers that are united by trade of ideas and more. This would mean that if one place fell down like in many cases, one would still stand. Also these sides could help to rebuild the fallen side, so thus the dynasty lasts. Predicting into the future, one might want dominate control, so there must be some rules in the Confucian texts that are highlighted to stop this from happening. The Chinese at the time were all Confucian, so they would follow the texts. Also, the social structure could change, with trade and a new government set up that all people must listen to the emperor, but the emperor must look down on the people to make it better. Thus they should be humble instead of powerful. Also the social structure would support the people like it was, and the social structure should have some women maintain a few places in the government, somewhat lower, to give insight on their lives as women. As one can see the result of a more for the people and alliances within the nation would result in a better situation, and it would last longer.
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