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Chapter 4

History 2601E Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Yongzheng Emperor, Partible Inheritance, Rich Tea


Department
History
Course Code
HIS 2601E
Professor
James Flath
Chapter
4

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Spence - Chapter 4
"Yongzheng's Authority"
Economic structures
- brief reign of Emperor Yongzheng (successor to Kangxi)
- was stormy, complicated, important
- Yongzheng aka Yinzhen (family name)
- promoted brothers first to quiet their suspicions
- trusted brother Yinxiang
- strong practice of Buddhism
- highly developed system of credit and banking (particularly in Amoy aka Xiamen)
- further prosperity came from rich tea farms of region
- mixture of historical and geographical reasons, region was violently split apart by fierce
localisms
- richer homes were fortified
- tenancy rates were high
- violent tension for recent immigrants or poorer inland farmers on their terraced
mountainsides
- mid-Qing society and economy facing problem of rapid rise in population
- transition between Ming and Qing period had demographic significance because of:
- foreign invasion
- civil war
- bandit upheavals
- natural disaster
- irrigation-system failures
- extremely severe diseases
- practice "partible inheritance" - diving up land among sons rather than giving to first
son only
- for women, attempts to not get married were disapproved
- social discontent
The question of taxes
- Emperor Yongzheng concentrated many problems such as
- structure of Chinese bureaucracy & finance in countryside
- strengthening of central executive branch of state
- development of effective and confidential information system
- the rich would abuse tax system
- to correct problem, Kangxi sent auditors
- auditors were met with hostility, blocked roads, cut bridges, riots, physical assault
- local financial clerks showed that wealthy families were exempted of nearly all tax
obligations in return for payoffs
The centre and channels of power
- rulers rarely free to concentrate on one problem at a time
- Yongzheng never able to give full attention to problems of rural taxation and
administration in central provinces
- becomes necessary to reinforce Wing power on borders
- Yongzheng created informal but efficient network to get certain information and decisions
away from regular six ministries
Moral authority
- believed Manchus came because they were attracted to Chinese culture
- Yongzheng prepared lectures for local scholars to deliver (right down to the village people)
- all examination candidates had to know expanded maxims and emperor's commentaries
on them
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