Andrew Paul Stokes June 5, 2011 Ming Dynasty Economy It’s growth and it’s decline. By Andrew Paul Stokes Beijing Union University 1|P a ge Andrew Paul Stokes June 5, 2011 Ming Dynasty Economy The Ming Dynasty The economy of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) of China was the largest in the world at the time. It is regarded as one of China’s three golden ages (the other two being the Han and Tang dynasties), the Ming is also the dynasty where the first sprouts of Chinese capitalism can be seen.
The economic growth so evident under the Ming Dynasty continued under the Qing Dynasty, up until the time of the Opium War in the 1840s. During this time, China’s domestic economy was a dynamic, commercialising economy, and in some ways, even an industrialising economy. The Ming Dynasty, “one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history” 1, was the last native imperial dynasty in Chinese history, sandwiched between the two dynasties of foreign origin, Yuan and Qing. The Ming stand as the last attempt to hold Chinese government in native hands and the last dynasty run by ethnic Hans.
As China was humiliated and oppressed by the rule of the Mongols, the Ming Dynasty rose up out of a peasant rebellion led by Zhu Yuanzhang to preside over the greatest economic and social revolution in China before the modern period. Trade was allowed between China and nations in the west, cash crops were more frequently grown, specialised industries were founded, and the economic growth caused by the privatisation of state industries resulted in a prosperous period that exceeded that of the earlier Song Dynasty.
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At the end of the Ming Dynasty, shortly before the Manchus overthrew the Ming and established the Qing Dynasty, China’s economy was a period of expansion. New markets were being founded, and merchants were extending their businesses across provincial lines and even into the South China Sea. Establishment of the Ming under the Hongwu Emperor It had become very apparent that the Yuan Dynasty’s ability to govern, to maintain order in society, to administer principal and local government, and to collect taxes – was eroding well before the middle of the fourteenth century. Agriculture and the economy were in a shambles and rebellion broke out among the hundreds of Reischauer, Edwin Oldfather; Fairbank, John King; Craig, Albert M. (1960) A History of East Asian Civilisation, Vol 1. East Asia: The Great Tradition, George Allen & Unwin Ltd. 2 Mote, Frederick W. (1988) The Rise of the Ming Dynasty 1330 – 1367 in Twitchett, Denis; Fairbank, John K. (eds. ) The Cambridge History of China, Vol 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368 – 1644, Part 1. Cambridge University Press, p. 11 1 2|P a ge Andrew Paul Stokes thousands of peasants called upon to work on repairing the dykes of the Yellow River.
In the 1350s, several rebel leaders, almost all of whom came from the merchant or lower classes, seized cities and set themselves up as kings or even, with just a small amount of territory, proclaimed themselves to be Emperor. The Yuan Emperor no longer seemed to be in control of the situation, and indeed the country, it had been carved up into pieces by rebel warlords. The Ming Dynasty was an age of breakdown in which throughout most of the country the conduct of daily life depended on and ended up on direct recourse to violence.
It provides a classic example of the gradual militarisation of Chinese society and, because of that, the struggle among potent rivals to succeed the Mongol (Yuan) regime by imposing, through military force, a successor regime that could claim the Mandate of Heaven. 3 Zhu Yuanzhang, who would later become the founder of the Ming Dynasty, was a peasant. He was the only person from such poor and humble origins ever to found a ruling Chinese dynasty. It is said that a scholar told him he would succeed if he followed three simple rules: a. build strong city walls; b. ) gather as much grain in storage as possible; c. ) be slow to assume titles. Zhu followed these rules assiduously. With his army, Zhu slowly conquered the territories of all the warlords whilst carefully watching the government’s armies. By 1368, he has conquered all of southern China; this is the date at which the Ming Dynasty officially begins. He had control of all of China by 1369. June 5, 2011 Ming Emperor Hongwu (1368 – 1398) Emperor Hongwu made an immediate effort to rebuild state infrastructure.
He built a long wall around Nanjing, which then became the official capital of the Ming empire (the Yuan had their capital located in Beijing), as well as new palaces and government halls. 4 He enacted a series of policies designed to favour agriculture at the expense of other industries. Aid was given by the state to farmers, also providing them with land and agricultural equipment, as well as a full revision of the ibid. “Mandate of Heaven” is a traditional Chinese philosophical concept concerning the legitimacy of rulers.
It is similar to the European concept of the divine right of kings, in that both sought to legitimise rule from divine approval; however, unlike the divine right of kings, the Mandate of Heaven is predicated on the conduct of the ruler in question. The Mandate of Heaven postulates that heaven (Tian) would bless the authority of a just ruler, as defined by the Five Confucian Relationships, but would be displeased with a despotic ruler and would withdraw its mandate, leading to the overthrow of that ruler. The Mandate of Heaven would then transfer to those who would rule best.
The mere fact of a leader having been overthrown is itself indication that he has lost the Mandate of Heaven. 4 Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; (1999) The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge University Press. pp. 190-1. 3 3|P a ge taxation system. 5 The Ming government abolished the mandatory forced labour by peasants that was used in early dynasties and replaced it with wage labour. A new class of wage labourers sprung up where none had existed before. In Jingde alone, it was reported that there were no less than 300 pottery factories, all operated by wage labourers. According to historian Timothy Brook, the Hongwu Emperor attempted to immobilise society by creating rigid, state-regulated boundaries between villages and larger towns, discouraging trade and travel in society not permitted by the government. 7 He also forcibly moved thousands of wealthy families from the southeast and resettled them around Nanjing, forbidding them to move once they were settled. 8 , In order to better administer the state, the emperor ordered surveys and censuses to be taken and the data gathered in government registers and records. This enabled the central government to regulate taxation.
In addition, he made all occupations hereditary in order to further prevent social mobility; he understood, as a former peasant himself, the danger of social mobility. All members of Chinese society were grouped into three large hereditary classes: peasants, craftspeople, and soldiers. To keep track of merchants’ activities, he forced them to register all their goods once a month. 9 It seems his main goals were to attempt to curb the influence of the merchants and landlords, but it turned out that several of his policies would eventually encourage them to amass more wealth.
Hongwu’s system of massive relocation was seen as being too oppressive and encouraged people’s desire to escape the harsh taxes that were imposed on the wealthy by becoming itinerant retailers, peddlers, and migrant workers finding tenant landowners who would rent them space to farm and labour upon. 10 By the middle of the Ming era, subsequent emperors had abandoned Hongwu’s unpopular relocation system and instead entrusted local officials to document the numbers of migrant workers and their earnings in order to bring in more revenue. 1 Hongwu believed that agriculture was the core basis of the economy, Hongwu favoured that industry over all else, including that of merchants. However, after his death, most of his policies were reversed by his successors. By the late Ming, the state ended up losing power to the very merchants which Hongwu had wanted to restrict. Andrew Paul Stokes June 5, 2011 5 Mote, Frederick W. (1988), “Introduction”, in Twitchett, Denis; Mote, Frederick W. (eds. ), The Cambridge History of China, Vol 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368 – 1644, Part 1. Cambridge University Press, p. 6 Li, Bo; Zheng, Yin. (2001) 5000 years of Chinese history. Inner Mongolian People’s Publishing House. pp. 994-7 7 Brook, Timothy. (1998) The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China, Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 19 8 ibid. pp. 28-29 9 ibid. pp. 65-67 10 ibid. pp. 27-28 11 ibid. p. 97 4|P a ge Andrew Paul Stokes The Agricultural Revolution. June 5, 2011 Through several of China’s dynastic periods, the economy, like most pre-modern economies was agriculturally based with all other sectors either servicing it or drawing materials from it.
During the Song dynasty the Chinese developed the world’s most productive agricultural system. Mongol domination and the Ming dynasty’s rise to power left much of China devastated and parts uninhabited. 12 The Hongwu Emperor had as one of his central tasks the rebuilding of the Chinese economy which had been devastated by the excesses of the Mongol rulers. Between 1370 and 1398, China experienced a revolution in agriculture unparalleled in history. Hongwu revived the agricultural sector to create self-sufficient communities that would not need to rely on commerce, which he assumed would only remain in urban areas. 3 The surplus created from this revival encouraged farmers to make profits by selling their goods in regional urban markets. 14 Alongside other crops, rice was grown on a large scale with the introduction of Champa Rice from Southeast Asia. Population growth and the decrease in fertile land made it necessary that farmers produce cash crops to earn a living, and as the countryside and urban areas became more connected through commerce, households in rural areas began taking on traditionally urban specialisations, such as the production of silk and cotton, as well as producing fabric dyes and growing sugar cane. 5 The Cambridge History of China states about the Ming that: “The commercialisation of Ming society within the context of expanding communications may be regarded as a distinguishing aspect of the history of this dynasty. In the matter of commodity production and circulation, the Ming marked a turning point in Chinese history, both in the scale at which goods were being Graham, James. (Unknown Date). “Quantitative Growth, Qualitative Standstill: China’s Economic Situation 1368-1800”. From HistoryOrb. com website. http://www. historyorb. com/asia/china_economy. shtml (accessed 03/06/2011). 13 Brook, Timothy. 1998) The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China, Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 69 14 ibid. pp. 65-66 15 ibid. pp. 113-117 12 5|P a ge Andrew Paul Stokes produced for the market, and in the nature of the economic relations that governed commercial exchange. ” 16 June 5, 2011 The Yongle Emperor, the Second Founding… Hongwu’s successor and grandson assumed the throne as the Jianwen Emperor (1398–1402) after the death of Hongwu in 1398. After a short period of civil war, he was overthrown by his uncle, Zhu Di, who assumed the throne under the title the Yongle Emperor.
The reign of the Yongle Emperor is considered by many to be ‘a second founding’ of the Ming Dynasty since he had reversed many of his father’s policies. 17 Also, during his reign, China had recovered many of the territories lost during earlier dynasties, as well as those lost during the much earlier Five Dynasties & Ten Kingdoms era (907–960AD). One year after assuming the throne, he announced that the new capital and power base will be moved to back to Beijing and a new palatial complex to be built, and the current capital, Nanjing, was to be demoted to a secondary capital.
Construction began on what is now known as The Forbidden City in 1407. Construction of the new city took place between 1406 to 1420, employing hundreds of thousands of workers daily. 18 The Yongle Emperor also Ming Emperor Yongle 1402-1424 initiated many other grand building projects, such as the restoration of the Grand canal, which had lain dilapidated for many decades. The reason this restoration was important was to solve the perennial problem of shipping grain north to the capital.
Shipping the annual four million shi 19 was made difficult because the previous method of shipping through the East China Sea or by various inland canal routes that included the loading and unloading the Heijdra, Martin. (1988) “The Socio-Economic Development of Rural China During the Ming”, in Mote, Frederick W. ; Twitchett, Denis (eds. ), Cambridge History of China: The Ming Dynasty 1368-1644, Part One. Cambridge University Press. p. 580 17 Atwell, William S. (2002) “Time, Money, and the Weather: Ming China and the Great Depression of the MidFifteenth Century,” The Journal of Asian Studies (Volume 61, Number 1). p. 83-113. 18 Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; Walthall, Anne; Palais, James B. (2006) East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 272 19 Ancient Chinese measurement. One shi is equal to about 107 litres. 16 6|P a ge Andrew Paul Stokes grain onto several different barges was proven to be rather inefficient and time consuming. 20 June 5, 2011 To a certain extent, the Ming state itself facilitated the movement of goods to market by relocating the capital to Beijing in the far north, away from the rich and prosperous rice growing areas of Southern China.
This resulted in a natural market for the demands of goods in the north, if for no other reason than to feed the imperial household and court. This was one of the reasons why it was so important to keep the Grand Canal in working order. It was a major conduit for grain, salt, and other important commodities. Any taxes that were paid in kind were paid in grain, which was shipped along the Grand Canal. Thus, control of the Grand Canal was of critical importance to the Ming government. It was under the reign of Emperor Yongle that the Chinese first began to trade and interact with Europeans on any significant scale.
The presence of Europeans would eventually prove to be the most contentious aspect of modern Chinese history, but during the Ming, European trade greatly expanded Chinese economic life, particularly in the southern regions. Through most of their history, the Chinese have concentrated largely on land, commerce, and exploration. However, the Yongle Emperor began to sponsor a series of naval expeditions during 1405 and the years that followed. The reasoning for these naval expeditions are varied, but the Yongle emperor wanted to expand trade with other countries and had a taste for imported and exotic goods.
Merchants and Overseas Trade. From 1405 till 1433, the Chinese imperial eunuch Zheng He led seven ocean expeditions for the Yongle Emperor that are unmatched in world history. During this time, Zheng He travelled all the way from China to Southeast Asia and then on to India, all the way to major trading sites on India’s southwest coast. In his fourth voyage, he travelled to the Persian Gulf. But for the last three voyages, Zheng went even further, all the way to the east coast of Africa. These expeditions made China the world’s greatest commercial naval power in the world at the time, far superior to any European nation. 0 Early 17th century Chinese woodblock print, thought to represent Zheng He’s ships Brook, Timothy. (1998) The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 46-7. 7|P a ge Andrew Paul Stokes One purpose of these lavish expeditions was to overwhelm foreign peoples and to convince them beyond any doubt the extent and grandeur of Ming power, but more so, it was to increase China’s contacts in these areas and establishing stateregulated trade there. 21 The Ming government constantly intervened in foreign trade.
Under the reigns of Emperors Hongwu, Yongle, and Jiajing, foreign trade by private merchants was completely prohibited. In reality, the bans on this trade never succeeded in anything but preventing the government from taxing private merchants. Private trade continued in secret because the coast was impossible to patrol and police adequately, and because local officials and scholar-gentry families in the coastal provinces actually colluded with merchants to build ships and trade. The smuggling was mainly with Japan and Southeast Asia, and it picked up after silver lodes were discovered in Japan in the early 1500s.
Since silver was the main form of money in China, lots of people were willing to take the risk of sailing to Japan or Southeast Asia to sell products for Japanese silver, or to invite Japanese traders to come to the Chinese coast and trade in secret ports. Something that can be seen in Chinese society before the Ming dynasty is the general disgust and disapproval of merchants and foreign salesmen, but during the mid and later parts of the Ming dynasty, merchants brought along a large amount of social revolution and change. By the 15th Century, the Ming had abolished the restriction on private overseas trade and Ming merchants prospered.
An extensive expansion of trade followed with only trade to nations at war with China prohibited. 22 At that time, Denis Twitchett claims that China, apart from being a lucrative market for Ming Paper Money Europeans, was the largest and wealthiest 23 nation on earth. The most important parts of all this trade was the importation of silver. The governments of both Hongwu and Zhengtong (1435-1449) attempted to cut the flow of silver into the economy in favour of paper currency, yet mining the June 5, 2011 21 22 Li, Bo; Zheng, Yin. (2001) 5000 Years of Chinese History.
Inner Mongolian Peoples’ Publishing House. p. 996 ibid. p. 996 23 Huang, Ray. (1988), “The Ming Fiscal Administration”, in Twitchett, Denis; Fairbank, John K. (eds. ), The Cambridge History of China, Volume 8: The Ming Dynasty 1398-1644, Part Two. Cambridge University Press. pp. 110-113. 8|P a ge precious metal simply became a lucrative illegal pursuit practiced by many. 24 Emperor Hongwu seemed unaware of the situation of economic inflation, even as he continued to hand out multitudes of paper currency as awards; by 1425, paper currency was only worth around 0. 014% its original value.
Eventually, the state stopped issuing paper currency because the population had lost faith in it. 25 Andrew Paul Stokes June 5, 2011 By the late sixteenth century, China was intimately a part of the growing global economy. The Chinese were trading actively with the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the Japanese, who all traded silver for Chinese silks and porcelain. The Ming shipped silks to Manila in the Philippines and there traded with the Spanish for silver, firearms, and American goods such as sugar, potatoes, and tobacco. Chinese Ming blue and white porcelain became all the rage in Europe and was highly prized.
The Dutch East India Company alone handled the trade of 6 million porcelain items from China to Europe between the years 1602 to 1682. 26 Patricia Buckley Ebrey writes of the considerable size of commercial transactions on the silk goods traded to Europe: “In one case a galleon to the Spanish territories in the New World carried over 50’000 pairs of silk stockings. In return China imported mostly silver from Peruvian and Mexican mines transported via Manila. Chinese merchants were active in these trading ventures, and many emigrated to such places as the Philippines and Borneo to take advantage of the new commercial opportunities. 27 In 1435, however, court scholars wrongly convinced the Hongwu emperor that the decline of the dynasty would be signalled by a taste in foreign wares, so China greatly contracted its commercial and maritime expansion it had begun so auspiciously. They would later be renewed under the rule of the Yongle Emperor, but again they were curtailed after the death of Zheng He. The situations of missions coming to an end resulted in the eviction of Ming troops from Vietnam which brought significant costs to the Ming treasury. 8 The lavish expense of the sailing fleets with high eunuch power at court was another big factor (Zheng He himself was also a eunuch as were many other naval commanders), so the halting of funding for these ventures was seen as a means to curtail further eunuch influence and power at court and in high positions. 29 There was also the great threat of a revival of Mongol power in the north which drew much of the attention away from other matters; to face this threat, a massive amount of funds and manpower was Brook, Timothy. (1998) The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China.
Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 68-69 25 Fairbank, John K. ; Goldman, Merle. (2006) China: A New History. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 134. 26 ibid. p. 206 27 Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; (1999) The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge University Press. p. 211. 28 Fairbank, John K. ; Goldman, Merle. (2006) China: A New History. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, p. 138 29 ibid. pp. 138-139 24 9|P a ge Andrew Paul Stokes used to restore, rebuild, and extend the Great Wall. 0 Many scholars and historians believe that Yongle’s move of the capital from Nanjing to Beijing in the north was largely in response of the need to keep a closer eye on the Mongols in the north and to better prepare to defend. June 5, 2011 Economic and Dynastic Collapse. There were numerous causes for the decline and fall of the Ming despite the auspicious start of the dynasty under the Hongwu emperor. The most immediate and direct cause of the fall was the rebellions in the seventeenth century and the aggressive military expansion of the Manchu armies.
The decline of the dynasty, however, began much sooner, perhaps even as early as the initial establishment of the dynasty. At the end of the Ming Dynasty, what is now referred to as the ‘Little Ice Age’ 31 severely curtailed Chinese agriculture in the Northern provinces, famine, drought, and other disaster befell Northern China, bringing peasant revolts. The inability to collect taxes resulted in armies not being paid. Many of these troops joined the rebels making the situation worse.
During the last years of Emperor Wanli’s reign, and those of his two successors, an economic crisis developed that was centred on a sudden widespread lack of the empire’s chief medium of exchange: silver. Through acts of piracy staged by the Protestant Dutch and the English against the Catholic empires of Spain and Portugal in order to weaken their global economic power, the flow of silver into China slowed. 32 The only flow of silver into China came from the illegal smuggling from Mexico and Peru across the Pacific in favour of shipping directly from Spain o Manila. In 1639, the new Tokugawa regime of Japan shut down most of its foreign trade with Europe, causing a further halt of silver coming into China… though the Japanese silver still flowed in small amounts. 33 The occurrence of these events at the same time caused a dramatic spike in the value of silver and made the payment of taxes nearly impossible in most provinces. For peasants this was an economic disaster, since they paid taxes in silver while conducting local trade and selling their crops with copper coins. 4 Famine, as well as tax increases, widespread military desertions, flooding, the inability of the government to properly manage irrigation ibid. p. 139 Little Ice Age – was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period. While not a true ice age, the term was introduced into scientific literature by Francois E. Matthes in 1939. It is conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries. 32 Spence, Jonathan D. (1999) The Search for Modern China: Second Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 19 33 Brook, Timothy. 1998) The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 208 34 Spence, Jonathan D. (1999) The Search for Modern China: Second Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 20-21. 31 30 10 | P a g e and flood control projects, caused the widespread loss of life and suffering. 35 Due to lack of resources, the central government didn’t have the means to mitigate the effects of these calamities. Andrew Paul Stokes June 5, 2011 The Ming Dynasty’s economy was always in disarray because of the lack of knowledge on how to run an effective treasury.
Paper money removed from circulation and was replaced with coinage, which eventually lost most of their value due to counterfeiting. However, since there were not enough coins in circulation, counterfeiting became a massive problem. At this point, the provinces were required to mint their own coins; unfortunately, some of them added lead to the coins, which depleted their value. Due to the abundance of counterfeit coins, their value again declined. This coin problem was amplified by an increasing need for money due to the growth of trade, and the threat of military campaigns that proved very costly.
Chongzhen, The Last Emperor. During the rule of the final Ming emperor, the Chongzhen Emperor, the situation just began to worsen. Chongzhen tried to rule by himself and did his best to try and salvage the dynasty, correcting all the mistakes of those who ruled previously, but it seemed it was too little too late. After years of internal corruption and an almost empty treasury, it became almost impossible to find capable ministers to fill important government posts. It also didn’t help that Chongzhen was incredibly suspicious and mistrusting of the few skilled subordinates that he did have.
In 1644, the rebels under the command of Li Zicheng took Beijing, ending the Ming rule in the North. Rather than face capture, humiliation, and possible execution at the hands of the newly proclaimed Shun Dynasty 36, Chongzhen arranged Ming Emperor Chongzhen (1627-1644) a feast and gathered all the members of the imperial household, aside from his sons. Using a sword, he killed everyone there. ibid. p. 21 Shun Dynasty – was an imperial dynasty created in the brief lapse from Ming to Qing rule in China. The dynasty was founded in Xi’an on 8 February 1644, the first day of the lunar year, by Li Zicheng, the leader of a large peasant rebellion.
Li, however, only went by the title of King (? ), not Emperor (?? ). The capture of Beijing by the Shun forces in April 1644 marked the end of the Ming dynasty, but Li Zicheng failed to solidify his mandate: in late May 1644, he was defeated at the Battle of Shanhai Pass by the joint forces of Ming general Wu Sangui and Manchu prince Dorgon. When he fled back to Beijing in early June, Li finally proclaimed himself emperor of China and left the capital in a hurry. The Shun dynasty ended with Li’s death in 1645. 36 35 11 | P a g e Andrew Paul Stokes
Everyone died except his daughter Princess Changping. Chongzhen then fled to Jingshan Hill and committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in the garden. 37 Regimes loyal to the Ming throne continued to reign in southern China until 1662. June 5, 2011 Conclusion. So in conclusion, during the Ming Dynasty, China saw perhaps the greatest change and rebirth in their history. The Ming Empire found the perfect balance of empirical power and Confucianism, culture and technology were revolutionised, allowing the expansion of wealth trade and nationalism.
Political implements and modification had contoured China into a strong and supple empire, extending its fingers south to Vietnam and north to Manchuria. Combining typical Confucian methods of governance, a strong empirical head, and an extended base of power amongst court eunuchs, Ming China successfully rehabilitated the greatness of the Tang and Han dynasties. It was the world’s largest economy of its age. It was also the most powerful and largest military power in all of Asia. Science, economy and military strength from the early Ming Dynasty onwards culminated in the greatest age of maritime exploration in Chinese History. 8 Economically, the Ming Dynasty was a period during which the feudal society began to show the declining trend while the concept of capitalism started to originate. In agriculture, both the food output and the implements of production surpassed that of earlier dynasties. The most spectacular advancement in Ming China probably was the evolution of maritime exploration which opened China up to the world… albeit briefly. The increased knowledge of the seas and the navigational tools aided the Chinese in forging an empire that could trade with places half the world away.
But, inexperience and neglect by the Ming rulers contributed greatly to the downfall of the dynasty, as well as corruption of the court officials and the domination of the eunuchs inside the court. If, for instance, instead of turning to eunuchs to help check on Court officials, the emperors turned to his immediate relatives or maternal relations, it could also have led to, as history of Han and Jin dynasties had shown, factionalism that weakened the empire. Instead of eunuchs being the problem, imperial relations would have been the problem.
The government officials were cruel and extorted unreasonable taxes. The combination of natural calamity and human oppression drove the peasants to a revolt. The disasters of Ming dynasty can be allocated such: 70% human error. The officials were greedy and extorted taxes from the victims. The state increased taxes without thought of the disasters, eventually leading to peasant revolt. The Ming dynasty could have decisively chose policies to alleviate suffering after suppressing Li Zicheng’s first revolt: make necessary changes to the Spence, Jonathan D. 1999) The Search for Modern China: Second Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 25 38 Brook, Timothy. (1998) The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China, Berkeley: University of California Press. 37 12 | P a g e Andrew Paul Stokes government officials and taxation policies, allocate the wealth to aid the victims and to pacify the masses, then Li Zicheng’s movement would be unable to attract anyone. The fall of the capital to the peasant army (or any other army) would not have occurred. June 5, 2011 Bibliography Atwell, William S. 2002) “Time, Money, and the Weather: Ming China and the Great Depression of the Mid-Fifteenth Century”, the Journal of Asian Studies, 61 (1): 81-113, Cambridge University Press Brook, Timothy. (1998) The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China, Berkeley: University of California Press. Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; Walthall, Anne; Palais, James B. (2006) East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; (1999) The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge University Press Fairbank, John K. nd Goldman, Merle. (2006) China: A New History. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press Graham, James. (Unknown Date). “Quantitative Growth, Qualitative Standstill: From www. HistoryOrb. com China’s Economic Situation 1368-1800”. website. http://www. historyorb. com/asia/china_economy. shtml (accessed 03/06/2011). Heijdra, Martin. (1988) “The Socio-Economic Development of Rural China During the Ming”, in Mote, Frederick W. and Twitchett, Denis (eds. ), Cambridge History of China: The Ming Dynasty 1368-1644, Part One, Cambridge University Press.
Huang, Ray. (1988) “The Ming Fiscal Administration”, in Twitchett, Denis and Fairbank, John K. (eds. ) the Cambridge History of China, Volume 8: The Ming Dynasty 1398-1644, Part Two, Cambridge University Press. Li, Bo and Zheng, Yin. (2001) 5000 Years of Chinese History, Inner Mongolian Peoples’ Publishing House. 13 | P a g e Andrew Paul Stokes Mote, Frederick W. (1988), “Introduction”, in Twitchett, Denis and Mote, Frederick W. (eds. ) The Cambridge History of China, Vol 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368 – 1644, Part 1. Cambridge University Press.
Mote, Frederick W. (1988) “The Rise of the Ming Dynasty 1330 – 1367”, in Twitchett, Denis and Fairbank, John K. (eds. ) The Cambridge History of China, Vol 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368 – 1644, Part 1. Cambridge University Press. Reischauer, Edwin Oldfather; Fairbank, John King and Craig, Albert M. (1960) A History of East Asian Civilisation, Vol 1. East Asia: The Great Tradition, George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Spence, Jonathan D. (1999) The Search for Modern China: Second Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. June 5, 2011 14 | P a g e
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