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The Han dynastys first leader was qin shuang. Han dynasty, (206 bce–220 ce) after the (1046–256 bce). It succeeded the (221–207 bce). So thoroughly did the Han dynasty establish what was thereafter considered Chinese culture that “Han” became the Chinese word denoting someone who is ethnically Chinese.
The dynasty was founded by Liu Bang, later the emperor (reigned 206–195 bce), a man of humble birth who led the revolt against the repressive policies of the preceding short-lived Qin dynasty. The Han copied the highly centralized Qin administrative structure, dividing the country into a series of administrative areas ruled by centrally appointed officials and developing a salaried bureaucracy in which promotion was based primarily on merit. Unlike the Qin, however, the Han adopted a ideology that emphasized moderation, virtue, and filial piety and thereby masked the authoritarian policies of the regime.
The Han excelled in warfare. Their military methods and new weapons helped them expand their dynasty. At its height, the reached west into Central Asia, east to present-day Korea, and south to present-day Vietnam. The Han dynasty had a large and well-organized army. All men from about the ages of twenty-five to sixty had to serve two years in the army. Historians that Han armies had 130,000 to 300,000 men.
The Han emperors made significant improvements in Chinese government. They adopted the centralized government established by Emperor Qin Shihuangdi. But they softened the harsh ruling style of the Qin emperor and brought Confucian ideas back into government. Han emperors needed many government officials to help run the vast empire. The government of China during this time functioned as a . A bureaucracy is a large organization that operates using a fixed set of rules and conditions. At each level of the bureaucracy, people direct those who are at the level below them.
The highest-level Han officials lived in the capital and gave advice to the emperor. Lower-level officials lived throughout the empire. They had many responsibilities, including overseeing the maintenance of roads and canals. They also had to make sure that, in case of famine, enough grain was produced and stored. One key improvement made by the Han concerned the way civil servants, or government workers, were hired. Before the Han dynasty, social status determined which government officials got jobs.
It was based on the principles of classic Chinese writings. The candidates had to learn five books by heart. Legend says that the men then had to spend several days taking the exam in tiny rooms. All the while, they were watched by guards to prevent cheating. Once hired, civil servants were not allowed to serve in their home districts. This rule was intended to prevent officials from giving special favors to friends and relatives. Every three years, civil servants could be promoted or demoted depending upon an evaluation of their work.
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