Chapter

Sage Kings and Laws in the Chinese and Greek Traditions

Paul S. Ropp

in Heritage of China

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 1990 | ISBN: 9780520064409
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520908932 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520064409.003.0004
Sage Kings and Laws in the Chinese and Greek Traditions

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This chapter discusses the relatively recent development of democratic forms of government in China. It illustrates the unshakable Chinese confidence, even through long periods of political chaos and disunity, in the cultural continuity of the Chinese tradition and the eventual restoration of political unity, peace, and social harmony. The meritocratic government and society of the Han period are then explored. The aristocratic age saw a reflourishing of many patrimonial values in the creation of powerful kingdoms ruled by members of the imperial family of the Chin dynasty and in the social values of the elite. In the Ming and the Ch'ing, many provincial-level commissioners were of great importance. In the Han and the T'ang periods, the disastrous consequences of the consolidation of military, fiscal, and personnel power by regional inspectors and governors-general were painful lessons for the throne that were avoided in the Sung and later periods.

Keywords: government; China; political unity; peace; social harmony; Han period; T'ang period; Ming; Chin dynasty; imperial family

Chapter.  12706 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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