Bad Essay on Administration of Imperial Rome and Han China
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Although both Han China and Imperial Rome had large, long lasting empires with similar economies and some similar policies centralized governments and similar administrative policies regarding land reform, their techniques of imperial administration differed in terms of how it came to be and how emperors ruled.
One major similarity between the administration policies of Han China and Imperial Rome was that both empires had very centralized governments. In China, the emperor had all the power. While there were smaller units of government, the emperor controlled everything within the empire. Han China’s government structure was modeled after its precursor, the Qin dynasty. The Han elaborated on the original structure, perfecting it. In Rome, the emperor was also the most powerful; however the Roman people had an illusion of power not seen in Han China. Although the emperor held the authority, the way the government was set up led people to believe that they had more say in the government than they really did. Both Han China and Imperial Rome had very strong, successful centralized governments.
Another similarity between the two is that in both Han China and Rome, the administration policy of land reform greatly reduced social problems and tension. When Han China was first developing, there were major issues between the social classes. The rich and elite were becoming richer and the poor were getting poorer. Because of this, it was decided that land had to be redistributed. The emperor took some land from the wealthy elites and gave it to the poor farmers. This helped diffuse the tension between classes. The same thing happened in Rome. The wealthy patricians had all of the land, money and power. The poor plebeians were becoming poorer. To solve this problem, Julius Caesar and his adopted son Augustus decided to redistribute both land and power. Rome’s government policies were reworked to give the plebeians more a little more say and to give the emperor the absolute power. More land was given to the plebeians as well, which lessened social tensions a little. In both empires, the administrative policy of land reform
One major difference between the administration of Han China and Imperial Rome is how their empires and techniques of administration came to be. Han China had an advantage over Rome in this regard. Han China had the benefit of already having a precedent for imperial rule. Both the Zhou and Qin dynasties had come before Han China. The foundations of imperial rule were already there. They were able to look at these once great empires and see what worked and what did not in terms of imperial rule. Han China was able to keep what had worked in the past and tweak and change what hadn’t worked. Because of this, Han China was able to develop their administration techniques much faster than Rome. Rome had no precedent of imperial rule; it had to develop its administration from scratch. Although they did take some ideas of imperial administration from Greece, for the most part Rome had to form these ideas on its own. This caused Rome to take much longer in creating their administration techniques.
Another difference between the administration of Han China and Imperial Rome is how the emperors ruled in terms of religion and philosophy. Rome did not develop a mostly unified religion until much later in the empire. From the beginning of Han China, the emperor was seen as having divine approval. The Mandate of Heaven gave the emperor this divine approval, and it could be taken away. Chinese emperors also often ruled with philosophical values, the most common of which was Confucianism. The philosophical value of legalism is what actually got China out of the warring states period and began Han China. Han China continued to rule according to the philosophical value of legalism, just their precursor, Qin China. Rome didn’t have a constant religion until late in the empire when Constantine made it legal to practice Christianity and endorsed it. Theodosius later made Christianity the official religion of Rome, but this occurred years after the empire was founded. Because the empires were ruled with different philosophies and religions, administrative techniques were different.
Overall, Han China and Imperial Rome had many similarities and differences in administration. Their policies regarding land reform and social tensions were similar, but the way these administration techniques came to power and how emperors ruled was different. These similarities and differences form two powerful empires that had major impacts on history.
Both Han China and Imperial Rome had highly centralized governments. Both empires utilized the administration policy of land reform to help with social issues. However, each society had administration techniques that the other lacked. Han China had procedures such as civil service exams and the merit based system. Rome