Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The End of the Qin

The End of the Qin
The Qin government was designed to place all power in the hands of the emperor. The emperor had to be strong, however, to maintain rule over China. Many people in China were unhappy with the Qin but were too afraid of Shi Huangdi to rebel.

Shi Huangdi, the First Emperor, died in 210 B.C. His favorite son became the Second Emperor, but he proved to be a weak ruler. Soon civil war broke out. In a civil war, different groups of people from the same place or country fight one another. By 206 B.C., the Qin had collapsed. After four more years of civil war, the king of the Han, Liu Bang, defeated all other rival powers in 202 B.C.

Most of what we know about Shi Huangdi, Li Si, and the Qin Empire comes from historians and scholars of the Han dynasty. The Han did not agree with the way the Qin had ruled. Because the Han government closely followed the teachings of Confucius, they disapproved of the Qin government for adopting Legalism.

There is no doubt that the Qin could be cruel as they created their Legalist society. Newly discovered Qin laws prove that the government treated people very harshly. However, many of the Han claims of Qin cruelty may be based more on the rivalry between the Qin and the Han than on historical facts.

Why did the Qin Empire collapse?

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