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The Qin dynasty
221-206 av. J. - C.
© Hachette Livre et/ou Hachette Multimédia

The Qiun dynasty (towards 210 av. J. - C.)

The centralization of China

The dynasty of Qin is one of shortest but also one of the most important Chinese dynasties. Its reign corresponds indeed to the installation of the imperial order and opens the way with the powerful dynasty of Han.

Towards the end of Zhou, at the time known as of the Kingdoms combatants, it became obvious that the old ritual order had fallen in disuse. Some of the many feudal States then adopted new methods of government. Located west of Chinese world (valley of Wei), the State de Qin put these methods in practice in a systematic way.

During the IV E century, the dukes of Qin proceeded to the setting-up of a centralized administration and removed feudality on their territory. A very strict framing of the population and the practice of the commercial monopolies enabled them to gather between their hands a considerable power. Equipped well, their army pushed back the wandering tribes menaçantes towards north (328), before penetrating in the southernmost kingdom of Tchou (Tchouan) in 316, thus preparing the catch with reverse of the Eastern principalities.

The installation of the imperial power

At the end of the III E century, prince Tcheng lends an attentive ear to the councils of the philosophical legist Han Fei Tseu, apostle of the authoritative government, and applies them, before undertaking, into 230, a series of campaigns which make it main from all China into 221. It is only after having beaten its rivals that Tcheng proclaimed the advent of the dynasty of Qin, giving itself to itself the name of Qin Shi Huangdi (the first emperor of Qin).

The emperor Qin Shi Huangdi
Systematically blackened by the Chinese historians, Qin Shi Huangdi remains difficult to encircle. It seems to have had a not very common personality. To the beginning of its reign, it attempted to found a true mystic of the power, based on the theories legists, and made build in its capital of Hien Yang the counterpart of the palate of all the princes defeated, divided according to the geographical provision of the originals (which, them, were destroyed) and connected to each other by closed galleries where the emperor could move unbeknownst to all, being thus identified to the abstraction even power. Disproportionate pride or devotion with an ideal, always is it that it could not be solved soon any more with nature mortal of the power which it incarnated. Consequently, it launches forwarding on forwarding in search of islands of immortal, and orders to the magi to seek for him the elixir of immortality (alchemy taoist). Reached megalomaniac insanity (it is at least as the Confucianists paint it), it makes whip the top of the mountains whose geniuses did not bring satisfaction to him, and feeling to die it will go until cursing the sky. After its death, it was buried in a tomb with its image, whose ceiling reproduced the sky, while on the ground, on the chart of the Empire, the mercury rivers were to run for eternity.  

Total unification
The emperor and his ministers managed in few years to ensure the unit of China in a durable way (because if it bursts with their fall, Han will remake it without sorrow).  

The reorganization of the Empire
The noble families were disarmed, off-set, their destroyed fortifications, except for those directed towards north, that Qin Shi Huangdi, at the cost of immense work, made connect in a Great wall. The Empire was organized in thirty-six commanderies, equipped with hard laws, often cruel. The people are submitted to the pitiless law of the collective responsibility within the family. One endeavors to destroy any particularism: the currencies are unified, just as the width of the roads, the weights and measures, the writing, which still presented alternatives.  

The enlarging of the Empire
Qin Shi Huangdi is not restricted to organize the Empire, it wants to give him a new dimension: its armies double Chinese space, subjecting the people of the South until the area of Canton, and advance in north to the Korean borders. These events had such a repercussion in the world that, for the first time, the Occident was informed of the Chinese world (China, deformation of Qin, indicates the Country of the Medium).  

The control of the thought
The desire of total unification of Qin Shi Huangdi extends to the knowledge and morals: in 213, he condemns to roughing-hew “all the pernicious books which excite the past to the detriment of the present”. A hunting for the writings begins then in all the country; many will disappear thus. The death of Qin Shi Huangdi, in 209, his/her son succeeded to him. But already the people, wearied, had raised themselves. Qin disappeared into 207, to make place in Han, which will be able to make bear fruit their heritage.

Bases of Chinese political philosophy

The systematic judgment of Qin by the well-read men Confucianists, who reproach them with the first chief the destruction of the books and the construction of the Great wall, company which imposed to the people terrible sufferings, should not mask their historical importance. In fact, the emperor, such as had defined Qin Shi Huangdi, remained a model and much of its methods remained applied (without one agreeing on it officially). The authoritative tendency, united with the humane government preached by Confucius, too utopian by itself, enabled him to become viable. Thus was defined in its broad outlines the political philosophy which prevailed in China to the paddle of the XX E century.  

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