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HIS280Y1- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 47 pages long!)


Department
History
Course Code
HIS280Y1
Professor
Yvon Wang
Study Guide
Final

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UTSG
HIS280Y1
Final EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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His280 January 9
Lecture 2
A. Yongle Takeover: the “Second Founding” of the Ming
-Yongle Emperor = Zhu Di, the usurping uncle who probably killed his nephew
-Ironically, Yongle means ‘eternal happiness’
-in order to demonstrate his legitimacy, he would threaten ppl into supporting them or coerce
them using propaganda about his dead nephew
-if you look back in history, it first appears as though his nephew was never actually an emperor.
Zhu Di ‘deleted’ everything, making it seem like he was the direct successor of the throne
-Once, Yongle compared himself to the honourable, virtuous Duke of Zhou and an official that
didn’t believe him had his tongue cut off
-Zhu Di tries to re-make the Ming in terms of:
1. Geography
making Beijing the imperial capital (Forbidden City) by 1420
Nanjing was a less important, secondary capital
Grand Canal (47,000 labourers paid off their labour taxes by working on its
maintenance) to keep Beijing in the loop
2. Ideological Manipulation & Control
Yongle lionized himself, comparing himself to a sage/Confucian/philosopher ruler
In doing so, Yongle solidifies neo-confucianism as an imperial, ideological weapon
Yongle Encyclopedia was a giant book meant to over all published topics. This
involved hiring and paying a bunch of scholars to do the work (while trying to sway them
to support you)
Civil examinations were still being used. But the essays are harder now and called the
“eight-legged” essays (using a rigid format of argumentation)
There are multiple-tiers for civil exams: local tier, provincial tier, Capital exam, palace
exam (maybe involves talking to the emperor). Even the local tier was insanely hard and
only a small minority of people passed
Even passing the local tier only got you benefits: labour tax exemption and not having to
show up to court for interrogation
Despite blind marking, it was not meritocratic. It required elite skills, like reading &
writing in Classical Chinese. (e.g. most officials came from 3 families…)
3. Micromanagement: Info & Personnel
Court records were summarized in something private called the Capital Gazette (for
governors to read only)
Veritable Records were formal archives of public records (e.g. about the Yongle
emperor)
Clearly a need to control information and its circulation
Over 1900 couriers throughout the empire. For sending ‘express’ news across the
empire and for officials’ lodging.
If you were an official that was sent out to travel, you could go to these courier stations
and get free lodge, transportation etc.
Persians and other foreign ambassadors also stayed at these stations
Courier stations = lifeline of domestic and intl. Ming politics
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Inner Court (Grand Secretaries)
-were seen to be ‘personal buddies’ of the emperor. Pulled from the civil service exams
-byproduct of Hungwu Emperor’s paranoia, as he didn’t want any 1 secretary to have too
much power
Eunuchs? A lot of them were talented & literate, so Yongle used them as military secret
agents, diplomatic envoys or clerks. Eunuchs form this ‘jail’ called the Eastern Depot
(located on the East of the empire), known throughout the Ming as where the usurping
officials end up (in the hands of eunuch torture!!!)
Nonetheless, the eunuch are still seen to have low statusesp. In relation to the Grand
Secretaries. The eunuchs did the emperor’s dirty work
4. Economy: Solving the Revenue Problem
-Hongwe didn’t support commercialization because it would be destabilizing.
-Hongwe’s Neo-confucian orthodoxy about taxing was at odds with the direction the Ming was
headed in. There was this idea of not wanting to tax people too much (so as not to burden
them). It was about preserving ‘small government’, being benevolent...but this was not in pace
with actual development and led to eventual revenue problems
b.) Ming vs. Outside World
-in 1300s, 5 expeditions mounted against the Mongols
-from 1407-1427, there were military expeditions down south to Annam
-neither of the above were successful
-more successful was the expansion of Ming into SW (namely, into the Yunnan province)
-not a very stark cultural or ecological gap between all these newly acquired provinces & central
plains culture (or as least not as big of a gap as there is between central plains and steppe)
-Tusi = local overseers. This was Beijing giving ‘official recognition’ to chosen individuals in the
newly colonized place. The Tusi was essential to lubricating the transition for newly colonized
ppl to being under Ming control
-Beijing’s ultimate goal was to control, but not extend state power into, those new regions
-Change in Beijing’s policy to gaitu guiliu = assimilation of officials; changing the local to return
to the current
-Zheng He
admirable Eunuch, trusted from a young age and eventually made responsible for
planning huge grandiose & luxury expeditions to India, Sri Lanka, Persia etc
On these huge ships would be tons of astrologers, medical experts, etc. (the scale of
these expedition trips was insane, as is evident from boat remnants that show the boats
to have been almost 5x size of Columbus’s. You could carry giraffes on these Ming
ships!)
Yongle emperor sent these expeditions for the purpose of increasing his legitimacy (he
wanted to acquire tributary states & bring back luxury exotic material stuffs that he could
display and gain respect from. This is diff. from Columbus etc who wanted to go on
expeditions for trade/acquiring spices purposes
These expeditions from the early-Ming proved to not be that cost-efficient, though
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