Formation of the foundations of the Confucian Empire...

9.1. Formation of the foundations of the Confucian Empire under the Han

His rule of the Han Gao-tszu (Liu Bang) began with a series of decrees and reforms aimed at restoring order and creating optimal forms of governing the empire. First of all, he abolished the system of legist legislation with its barracks discipline and cruel punishments of the guilty. A broad amnesty was declared, and all those who returned to their native places gained their former status and rank, their fields and homes returned to them. The tax from the peasants was reduced to 1/ 15 , and then even up to 1/ 30 of the crop, soldiers of the same Liu Bana army were exempted from taxes for 12 years. True, instead of the authorities introduced a poll tax from the population, which was supposed to pay for all adult men aged 15 to 56 years. The destroyed buildings and structures, especially the irrigation ones, were restored. Many state and private slaves were liberated.

The empire, as in the Qin era, was divided into oblasts, counties and volosts, and representatives of the communities received even more representation in the management of volosts and districts, where they now became a sort of powerhouse for the staff of the district chief. As sharply as the Qin rulers, and in some ways even sharper, the Han emperors restricted private property owners. Rich merchants were heavily taxed, and all the ignorant rich men, who did not have a prestigious social rank, were forbidden to use carriages, to put on silk, and even more so to hold public office. Officials, most of whom were guided by the Confucian standards, associated with the cult of an emphatically high morality, respect for traditions and family-clan ties, were still sharply distinguished by status and place in society.

The last moment played a role in the organization of management. Not all the country was divided into regions and counties. Some of it was granted in the form of the hereditary feudal lords of the early Chinchuan type to relatives and associate Liu Bana, which was seen as a manifestation of the emperor's supreme goodwill and was a clear tribute to the ancient tradition. After the death of Liu Bana (195 BC), the short-sightedness of this act was revealed. The new owners of the lands became more and more evident in separatist tendencies. The case ended with a rebellion of several of the largest individual rulers, hardly suppressed by the emperor Jing-di, who after that severely restricted the rights of the owners of the lot, forbade them to have their own army and appoint their officials in the entourage. As a result of these innovations, hereditary possessions by the middle of the II century. BC. have turned into something like feeding with very limited rights of their owners.

The final blow to specific domains was caused by the famous Han emperor Udi, the largest and most famous of the rulers of Han. During the long period of his reign (140-87 BC), the ideological and institutional foundations of the Chinese Confucian empire were laid, which had existed since then without noticeable structural changes until the twentieth century. It was U-di in 121 BC. issued a special decree, according to which hereditary inheritance must necessarily be shared among all the numerous children of their owners. This decree almost eliminated the principle of majorar that is not too stable in China (more precisely, the rights of one, not necessarily the elder, more often chosen by the father of the heir to the ancestral domain), which in practice meant the disappearance of rapidly fragmented lands.

In the times of the Wu-di, the Han Empire was divided into 102 regions with governors responsible to the center. A strong bureaucratic administration was established in which censors-prosecutors played an important role with the right of effective control. To pump money from the wealthy private owners, the system of buying and selling ranks was resumed. Udi also introduced a state monopoly on the smelting of iron and salt extraction, coinage and wine making (the system of buybacks often operated here). Large confiscations of land and slaves were carried out among the owners who had become too wealthy. At the same time, some of them were given the opportunity to hold certain positions, as a rule, provided that they are well paid for. In short, the whole system of the Udi administration was adjusted in such a way as to maximize the state, make the most effective central administration and squeeze as much as possible out of the pockets of private owners, providing some of them with certain, previously forbidden privileges and the same using their knowledge and experience in organizing the necessary production enterprises (the system of buybacks, etc.).

It would seem that there is a lot of legitimacy, and this is true, but for all that, there is no reason to talk about restoring legist methods. The essence of the process is different in the harmonious synthesis of legitimacy and Confucianism on the basis of Confucianism. For such synthesis, despite the seeming antagonism between the two warring doctrines, there were considerable objective reasons. Both doctrines were socially oriented, rational, both emphasized the welfare of the state and the people, and considered ministers and bureaucrats as the most important instrument for implementing the policy necessary for this. Differences on this background were less significant than could be expected. Their essence boiled down to the fact that the legists focused on the whip, in order to subdue their will to people who did not understand their own good, which, for its own good, should be weakened and subordinated to a strong power, while the Confucians offered carrots, seeking to administer by means of rites, rituals, ethics and traditions. In the synthesized Han Confucianism, the Legist Whip and the Confucian Gingerbread have found their place, both in the name of a single common goal, ie. strengthening of the centralized administration of a strong state, which, moreover, relied not only and not so much on violence as on centuries worked norms, traditions, a proven system of social and moral values.

The father of Han Confucianism is Dong Zhong-shu (187-120 BC), who created a new state ideology on the basis of the most acceptable ideas and innovations and all other teachings, including not only legism, but also moism, Taoism, and some other minor doctrines of Chinese antiquity. At the same time, he, as well as all his followers for millennia, never embarrassed the ideological and philosophical eclecticism of the new synthesized system of Han Confucianism. This was explained not only by the pragmatism of thinking, which was always characteristic of Chinese thinkers, but rather by sober practicality of purposefulness. The main thing in the new doctrine was not ideas in themselves, but a gigantic all-encompassing system of way of life and organization of government, norms and institutions based on them. Within the framework of this system, all its numerous elements, despite their heterogeneous origin, successfully harmonized and reinforced each other in the name of the already mentioned great goal. And this goal was achieved. Since Udi, Confucian imperial China, despite ups and downs, a change in the periods of centralization and decentralization, catastrophic crises, powerful peasant uprisings and conquests from the northern nomads-in short, despite all the trials, has always existed.

And it existed exactly as an empire, and in a slightly modified form compared with the Han and, moreover, reborn from the ashes in the case of any, even particularly acute crisis situations, all the same once and for all genetically coded form, only with secondary modifications.

Wu-di conducted an active foreign policy. When it was in the north, the Huns were pressed, in the southwest Namibia was annexed, part of Korea was captured in the east. But the greatest success of Udi's foreign policy is the travel of Zhang Qian , who penetrated the search for allies against the Huns far to the west and described many countries of Central Asia (Fergana, Bactria, Parthia, etc.). After Zhang Qian's return, along the route he had traversed, a road was built, the famous Great Silk Road. The East-Turkestan part of this road with small oasis-protostates lying along it was for a time subordinated to the Han government, which spread its influence to the Pripamir districts. Trade along the Great Silk Road promoted an intensive cultural exchange. To the west, to Rome, there were Chinese silks and other rarities, to the east, to China, some crops (grapes, garnets), exquisite items (glass, jewelry, spices), sometimes even outlandish beasts. But the most valued subject of Chinese imports from Central Asia were the famous Ferghana argamaks. Actually, with the desire to get these horses that were so highly valued in China, U-di's trips to Fergana began, which soon after Zhang Qian's return, played an important role in opening up a new trade route.

After the death of Wu-hi, the Han Chinese stepped into a protracted stagnation, followed by a crisis and decline. The weakening of the effectiveness of the power of the center contributed to the intensification of the activity of the private owner, which at times entailed the ruin of taxpayers and thereby hit the interests of the treasury. To facilitate the fate of the peasants in the middle of the first century. BC. some tax breaks were made, but this did not help much. In the country in conditions of deepening administrative chaos and ineffectiveness of power, so-called strong strong houses, rich landowners, aristocratic clans. As is known, in China, beginning with the Han, who received large official salaries and, moreover, enriched in unjust ways, dignitaries and officials usually invested their income in the land, thereby becoming private owners. In the conditions of effective power of the center, such a contradiction was easily removed, for any owner who was involved in power always clearly realized that his status and prestige depended on participation in the authorities, whereas his interests were of secondary importance. In accordance with this, those involved in the government acted. The situation was somewhat different in the conditions of crises. As a representative of the government apparatus, the official had to restrict the owner, including his own interests. But since the treasury was emptying, and the salary was accordingly given irregularly or incompletely, the official, first, began to press harder on the farmers, squeezing from the peasants, already impoverished, more and more new charges, which led to the ruin of the village and further deepening crisis, and secondly, it has been increasingly focusing on the interests of private owners, ultimately their own.

It was a paradoxical situation for the East: the personal interests of the country's influential houses came into conflict with the interests of the treasury, i.e. state. The result was a further weakening of the state and its political decentralization, and local wealthy people, strong houses, became increasingly decisive and practically uncontrollable forces. This made the situation even more complicated and critical. Only decisive reforms could rectify the matter, and this was well understood in the center. The question was only in whom and how to carry out reforms.

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