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Comparative Essay Examples

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  • Category: Rome

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The methods of political control used by the Han and Imperial Roman Empires were different, as in the degree of citizen participation in government because of how each empire utilized it to control the people. However, the use of theologies to justify rule was a similar method used by the two empires because it allowed leaders to win over the people in more ways than one. In addition, the use of militaries to control the population and outlying territories was a similar method because the empires were so vast and diverse that force was needed to control people. The Romans and the Han had different views on government and who should participate in it. The Romans allowed a Senate to be elected, although only certain people could run. This gave citizens the illusion that they were at least partially in control and prevented many uprisings from occurring. However, the person that was truly in control was the emperor, who made all of the important decisions. The Hans had a supreme monarch with no citizen involvement in government.

This supreme monarch just exercised punishment to control the people, rather than allowing democracy to influence the government. In Imperial Rome and Han China, the leaders used political theologies to explain and justify their rise to power. In Han China, the emperor was in power and no one could take away his throne, but people need to be convinced that there is another reason for it. The concept of “The Mandate of Heaven” explained that an emperor and his ancestors could stay in power as long as he kept the kingdom prosperous and stable. When the kingdom was safe and happy, that meant that the gods respected that dynasty’s rule, but when disasters began to occur, this signals the need for a new ruler. The Han Empire also took away some Legalist institutions from the previous Qin empire. According to Han Fei’s (the first legalist theologian) writings, no more than ten good people can be found in the empire, so the holy leader is the only one that has the merits to accomplish the job.

In Imperial Rome, the first emperor declared himself “princeps”, or first among equals, to keep power over the elected officials. Although the emperor was a military dictator, he used the Principate to conceal his dishonest rise to power and justify his rule. Both empires used their large armies as a method of control because of the vastness of each’s owned land. In Imperial Rome, the military patrolled the borders and major roads of the empire, maintaining the “pax romana” or Roman peace. This allowed commerce to flourish throughout the region. In Han China, men were required to serve in the military for at least two years for border protection, fort building and keeping tabs on barbaric neighbors. The armies of both empires served as a sign of power to both enemies and citizens. This prevented invasions and breaking of laws. Also, the armies were used to take over other regions and gain political control over them. In addition, though the government of each empire were very strict, they couldn’t be everywhere at once, and the armies provided the political presence that was needed.

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