The Qing Dynasty lasted between 1644 and 1912. Before the beginning of the Dynasty, there was the Ming Dynasty that had governed the country for years. The end of the Qing Dynasty was a result of an abortive restoration resulting to the development of the Republic of China.
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The most astonishing thing is that the dynasty was not founded by the majority Han Chinese, but by the Jurchen, a semi-sedentary tribe that lived in Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces. This essay will explore the history of the Qing Dynasty by comparing and contrasting the state and the Chinese society during this dynasty to the earlier periods in the history of the country.
The Extent to Which Qing was a Chinese Dynasty
At the age of 38, Emperor Shunzhi became the first leader of the dynasty. The Manchus took over 20 years to fight and defeat the forces of the Ming Dynasty who had very strongholds in the country’s south. Very many aspects define the dynasty as purely Chinese. For example, the dynasty embraced a unique culture practiced this day (Bary & Bloom 781).
The dynasty also managed to promote the temple rituals and the Confucian courts commonly presided by the emperors. During the same period, the dynasty supported most of the country’s historical and literary projects. Many people acknowledge that the Qing Dynasty was purely Chinese because it embraced the culture of the people. The dynasty also preserved the beliefs and practices of the Chinese people.
It is necessary to state that the Qing monarchy promoted different works of art and culture. The nature of martial arts and architectural designs in the society became common during the period thereby making the dynasty purely Chinese.
Having begun somewhere in the North, the rulers of the dynasty assimilated the people from the south while retaining the cultural attributes and aspects that define the Chinese tradition and culture (Ebrey 140). Different aspects of the Chinese society including religion, sports, martial arts, art, architecture, and societal norms developed during the Qing Dynasty.
This is the reason why Qing was a pure ‘Chinese’ dynasty. Largely, we can say that the Qing Dynasty played a very huge role in establishing and redefining the Chinese Society. The emperors of the dynasty did this by promoting the culture of the people.
Comparing and Contrasting the State and Society under the Qing and Earlier Periods
One significant thing about the Qing Dynasty is that it led to population growth unlike the earlier periods in the country’s history. The earlier periods had a slowed population growth. The dynasty also encouraged the movement of the people and continued migration.
The people resettled in different regions thereby making it possible for them to give birth and increase the population. The dynasty promoted economic activities that had not been encouraged earlier. Many people become farmers, scholars, merchants and artisans (Ebrey 140). This led to the establishment of industries thereby promoting the economy of the Chinese society.
The dynasty constructed roads and improved infrastructure to enhance movement of people and transportation. These developments promoted economic activities thus making it easier for individuals to trade and carry out other economic activities. The dynasty also promoted different works of art and architecture unlike the earlier dynasties (Smith 24).
During the period, the issues of governance improved something that made the country to become one of the most powerful societies in Asia. The Chinese also became civilized and their culture improved. Many societies in the region wanted to share the Chinese civilization thereby making the society better that it used to be. This explains the idea that the Qing Dynasty transformed a number of issues in the society.
On the other hand, the earlier societies and dynasties had embraced the concepts and traditions that defined the society. The Qing Dynasty decided to inherit and promote these concepts of state administration. These concepts included the value system, civilization and geographical centeredness. The state became a single territory with one administration.
This made it impossible for the outside world from hindering the activities carried out in the country. Unlike the earlier societies, the new regime managed to unify the society to make a single entity with a single government and similar culture and tradition (Smith 47).
The rules of the dynasty played a huge role towards the establishment of the country as it is today. The dynasty brought new changes in different sectors such as religion, art, governance, and economic activities.
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We cannot define the Qing Dynasty without looking at the economic implications of the society. During the Ming Dynasty, the country showed a declining level in economic development. However, the Qing Dynasty resulted in agricultural practices. The food outputs surpassed all the other dynasties in the country.
During the same time, the handicraft and art industry managed to grow rapidly than during any other period (Wills 239). The economy stabilized slowly thereby promoting population growth. The population continued to grow and became possible to promote other economic and societal activities.
This made the dynasty powerful than all the earlier feudal societies. The culture of the society during the Qing Dynasty improved rapidly. The literature of the Chinese improved from the earlier developments from the Ming and earlier dynasties. New social trends and religious practices developed thereby making the society very powerful than the predecessors.
According to history, the Ming Dynasty was able to sustain order in the society through its governance systems. This made the society and the state stable and effective during the time. However, the new Qing Dynasty managed to develop the society thus making it stable that the earlier states (Wills 242).
The leaders of the Qing Dynasty maintained the already established order in governance but went ahead to improve the economy of the society. The growth of the economy depended on infrastructure and other activities such as agriculture thus modernizing the society. The dynasty promoted the culture of the society thereby forming the basis for modern China as we understand today.
Looking at the Qing Dynasty and the predecessors, there are some similarities and differences observed in the state governance and the society. The similarities result from the fact that the Qing Dynasty leaders decided to adopt a similar system of governance and ideology thereby retaining the unique tradition of the people. However, the leaders also embraced new ideas and reformations in the society.
These reformations helped promote the economy and the culture of the people. The population grew enormously thereby making the society productive than ever before. The collapse of Qing Dynasty left the society civilized and economically stable. It is agreeable that the Qing was a ‘Chinese’ dynasty to a great extent and the reason it played a huge role in making the country what it is today.
Bary, William. & Bloom, Irene. Sources of Chinese Tradition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
Ebrey, Patricia. Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook. New York: New York, 1993. Print.
Smith, Richard. China’s cultural heritage: the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1912. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2004. Print.
Wills, John. Mountain of Fame. New York: Princeton, 1994. Print.