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Daily Lesson and Discussion Notes: 4-1

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1 Daily Lesson and Discussion Notes: 4-1
China Reunites Daily Lesson and Discussion Notes: 4-1

2 Objectives: Explain how the Sui and Tang dynasties rebuilt China’s empire Discuss why Buddhism became popular and spread Describe the ideas of Confucius and the new class of scholar-officials

3 Objective 1: Explain how the Sui and Tang dynasties rebuilt China’s empire

4 I. Rebuilding China’s Empire (pages 253-256)
A. After the Han empire ended in AD 220, China broke into 17 kingdoms and became very chaotic. Warlords, military people who run a government, fought each other for control. For 300 years after the Han empire ended, China had no central government. It broke into 17 kingdoms. War and poverty were everywhere. Chinese warlords – military leaders who run a government – fought with each other while nomads conquered parts of northern China.

5 B. China lost control of some of its conquered people, such as the people of Korea.
While China was absorbed in its own problems, it lost control of some of the groups it had conquered. One of these groups was the people of Korea. They lived on the Korean Peninsula to the northeast of China. The Koreans decided to end Chinese rule of their country. They broke away and built their own separate civilization.

6 C. China was reunited in AD 581 by a general named Wendi who declared himself emperor. He founded the Sui dynasty. A general named Yang Jian emerged from the confusion and disunity of the period of division to conquer a weak northern kingdom called the Northern Wei in AD Yang Jian led his soldiers to victory over a southern kingdom called the Chen, and in AD 589 established an empire that unified China for the first time in nearly 400 years. Yang Jian’s victory marked the beginning of the Sui (SWEE) dynasty, with Yang Jian – who was later called Wendi, as its ruler. Wendi situated his capital at Chang’an, site of the present-day Chinese city of Xian, which three hundred years earlier had also been the capital of the Han empire. Chang’an was located on the south bank of the Wei River, just upstream from the confluence of the Wei and the mighty Yellow River.

7 D. Wendi’s son Yangdi took the throne after his father’s death
D. Wendi’s son Yangdi took the throne after his father’s death. Yangdi made important improvements to China. His greatest achievement was the Grand Canal, which links the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) and Huang He (Yellow River). The two Sui emperors, Wendi and his son Yangdi, are remembered in Chinese history for their harsh rule. They forced peasants who owed taxes to the government to work off their debt by fighting in the army or working on extensive public works projects. While Wendi and Yangdi both are remembered for their leadership in recreating the viability of a centralized, powerful state – realized in full by the Tang – Yangdi is considered greedy and egotistical by Chinese historians. His desire to expand the palace at the eastern capital of Louyang required more than a million workers, 40 percent of whom reportedly died during construction. One contemporary writer reported that there was a steady flow of carts carrying away the dead from the capital under construction. Extensive public works projects undertaken by leaders of the Sui dynasty reunited and reinvigorated Chinese society. The most important of these projects was the construction of the Grand Canal.

8 E. Shipping products on the Grand Canal helped unite China’s economy
E. Shipping products on the Grand Canal helped unite China’s economy. An economy is an organized way in which people produce, sell, and buy things. The Grand Canal was completed in AD 610 during the rule of Yangdi. The Grand Canal at its narrowest point 130 feet wide, connected the Yellow River in the north with the Yangzi River in the south, covering a twisty 600 miles. Though taxes collected in the form of rice, grown in the south, produced the majority of funds for Yangdi’s government, economic stimulus was not Yangdi’s prime motive. A cultured scholar who longed to exhibit his sophistication, Yangdi made frequent trips on the Canal in his four-storied dragon boats, traveling in the imperial barge at the head of a flotilla that sometimes stretched for sixty miles. Millions of peasants worked to build and repair the Canal, many perishing while working like slaves for little pay under harsh conditions. Still, the Grand Canal underscored the growing importance of the south in Chinese culture. Rice was replacing millet as the staple food in the Chinese diet, and farmers and merchants in the south used the canal to extend their business and influence up into the traditional heart of Chinese imperial (or ceremonial) culture, in the north.

9 F. Yangdi’s improvements placed hardships on the Chinese people
F. Yangdi’s improvements placed hardships on the Chinese people. They rebelled and killed Yangdi. Another important public works project under Yangdi was the reparations undertaken on the Great Wall in AD The Great Wall – first built under the Qin emperor Shi Huang Di – eventually stretched 1,500 miles from the shores of the Yellow Sea to the Mongolian interior. Of the hundreds of thousands of workers who worked on the Great Wall, those who died during its construction were often buried among the wall’s bricks, giving the wall the nickname “the world’s longest cemetery.” Despite the toll it took on Chinese peasant workers, the Great Wall – with its thousands of 40-foot-high defense towers – increased the security from northern raiders, which allowed cultural and economic growth in the Chinese interior. Yangdi rebuilt China, but he did it by placing stress on the Chinese people. Farmers were forced to work on the great Wall and the Grand Canal. They also had to pay high taxes to the government for these projects. Finally they revolted. The army took control and killed Yangdi. With Yangdi gone, the Sui dynasty came to an end.

10 Objective 1: explain how the Sui and Tang dynasties rebuilt China’s empire
The Sui dynasty helped to rebuild China by forcing the Chinese people to work on extensive public works projects like the Grand Canal (promoted domestic trade) and the rebuilding of the Great Wall (provided security from northern raiders) and to serve in the army

11 G. The Tang dynasty was established by one of Yangdi’s generals
G. The Tang dynasty was established by one of Yangdi’s generals. The Tang dynasty ruled for about 300 years, from AD 618 to AD The Tang dynasty brought about many reforms to improve government. Reforms are changes that bring improvements. The Tang capital city of Changan may have had a population of one million people at its peak. The city had large blocks that included houses, businesses, and temples set along straight street. Its layout inspired the design of many later cities. The area containing the royal palace, shown below, was bordered by parklands. In AD 618 one of Yangdi’s generals took over China. He made himself emperor and set up a new dynasty called the Tang (TAHNG). Unlike the short-lived Sui, the Tang dynasty was in power for about 300 years – from AD 618 to AD The Tang capital at Chang’an became a magnificent city, with about one million people living there. Tang rulers worked to strengthen China’s government. They carried out a number of reforms, or changes that brought improvements.

12 H. One of the most powerful Tang emperors was Taizong
H. One of the most powerful Tang emperors was Taizong. He reinstated the civil service examination. Empress Wu added more officials to the government and strengthened China’s military. One of the keys to the success of the long-lasting Tang dynasty was general and emperor Dai Zong’s ability to control the army. In AD 618 Dai Zong captured Chang’an and Luoyang, ending the Sui dynasty. His father Li Yuan served as emperor until AD 626, when Dai Zong took the throne. Dai Zong realized that the greatest threat to stability for his new empire were the armies of the rich military aristocrats, who often grew tired of imperial rule and broke off to start civil wars. To curb the generals’ power, the emperor assigned them to northern border provinces and equipped them with largely inexperienced soldiers. Serious training was conducted during the harsh northern winters. Dai Zong kept close watch over the border militias by employing imperial inspectors to report on their actions. By controlling the generals directly, he was able to use the army to expand the empire and return China to the size of the Han empire. Dai Zong’s generals became so famous as conquerors that statues made in their image were used to guard the gates of temples and palaces. Tang emperors ruled according to the ideals of Confucius – in Chinese, Kong Fu Zi ( BC) – which supported a scholarly class of civil servants. To maintain orderly rule over such an extensive empire, rulers like Dai Zong and Empress Wu relied on a bureaucracy. Chinese bureaucracy was composed of departments, or bureaus, each with its own specific area of responsibility – an outgrowth of the Confucian teaching that harmony and stability in the social order could only result from respecting hierarchies. Dai Zong restored the civil service exam system. Government officials were once again hired based on how well they did on exams rather than on their family connections. During the Tang era, civil servants were not only officials, but poets and artists as well, because Confucius stressed scholarship, the study of calligraphy, poetry, and painting along with history and government.

13 I. The Tang dynasty expanded China’s empire and regained much of its power in Asia.
The Tang dynasty ruled one of the most geographically extensive empires in Chinese history. After the army of Empress Wu defeated the Korean Koguryo kingdom in the northeast, the Tang reached its greatest expansion. From her capital at Luoyang, Empress Wu – the only female emperor in Chinese history – ruled a territory that stretched from inner Mongolia in the north to Vietnam in the south, and from Korea in the east to the lofty Himalayan province of Kashmir in the west. The dynasty’s most significant expansion was in the west because the reconquering of the Tarim basin allowed for the reopening of the Silk Road.

14 The Silk Road, a series of trade routes connecting China to central Asia and the Middle East first opened during the Han dynasty. The route followed a string of oases perched between Central Asia’s northern wastelands and mighty mountains like the Himalayas in the south. Chinese merchants headed west along the Silk Road with caravans of camels and ox-drawn carts laden with silk, porcelain, jade, bronze, tea and other commodities, often handing their goods over to other participants in a chain of trade. They returned to China, along with traders from dozens of countries, with glass, rugs, horses, precious metals and stones, cotton products, and exotic spices and medicines. The Silk Road also served as an avenue for the exchange of cultures and ideas. Chinese technologies and ideas – paper, printing, agriculture, weapons, and weaving, among many others – traveled westward along the trans-Asian highway. Religions also passed along the road, bringing the beliefs of Christianity and Islam to the Tang capital at Chang’an.

15 J. By the mid-AD 700s, the Turks began to threaten the Tang dynasty’s hold in Asia. They took control of central Asia and the Silk Road, damaging China’s economy. The Tang dynasty weakened and fell. By the mid-AD 700s, however, the Tang dynasty began to have problems. A new group of nomads known as the Turks drove the Tang armies out of central Asia and took control of the Silk Road. This damaged China’s economy. Revolts in Tibet and among Chinese farmers at home further weakened the Tang. In AD 907 all of this disorder caused the Tang dynasty to collapse.

16 K. A Chinese general established the Song dynasty, which ruled for about 300 years, from AD 960 to AD 1279. During the Song (SOONG) dynasty, the center of Chinese culture shifted from the north to the south because invasions on the northern borders eventually split the empire. After almost 60 years of civil wars, known as the Five Dynasties, a general named Zhao Kuang Yin rose to power to unite China once again. When Zhao Kuang Yin – posthumously known as Tai Zu – named himself emperor in AD 960, he made his capital in the city of Kaifeng, located near the junction of the Grand Canal system and the Yellow River. Northern people from Mongolia and the northeast harassed China’s northern border for almost 200 years, eventually breaking through the Great Wall and capturing Kaifeng in AD The royal family fled south to the heavily populated Yangzi River valley. The northern conquerors, called the Jurchen, stayed north of the Yangzi River, and the Song established a new capital in the south at Hangzhou, located on the East China Sea. Thereafter, because the north was under foreign rule, government officials came primarily from members of southern Chinese families. In addition, southern merchants became very wealthy because northern products like wheat and millet were no longer available, making southern rice crops extremely valuable. The Song era saw the rise of the merchant class in Chinese society. In traditional Confucian theory, a merchant was considered lower than a peasant or artisan because a merchant neither worked the land or created a product. But the Song government realized that wealth could be raised by taxing commerce, so trade was encouraged, both in China and overseas. A new strain of faster-growing rice, imported from Cambodia, doubled China’s output of the grain, allowing for surplus stock that could be traded to bring in extra wealth. This extra income allowed more merchants to enter the lucrative overseas trade. Chinese junks, or ships, sailed on China’s elaborate canal system and plied the coasts of East and southeast Asia, trading the varied products of China’s agricultural and industrial might. From the start, however the Song faced problems that threatened their hold on China. Song rulers did not have enough soldiers to control their large empire. Tibet broke away, and nomads took over much of northern China. Mongolians, Jurchens, and Khitans constantly attacked northern provinces. The end of the Song dynasty came at the hands of a northern invasion.

17 Objective 1: Explain how the Sui and Tang dynasties rebuilt China’s empire
The Tang dynasty helped rebuild China by carrying out a number of reforms. The civil service exam was reinstated; land was given to the farmers; and peace was brought to the countryside. China’s military forces were also strengthen.

18 Objective 2: Discuss why Buddhism became popular and spread

19 II. Buddhism Spreads to China (pages 256-257)
A. Buddhism was brought to China during the Han dynasty about AD 150. Traders and missionaries from India brought Buddhism to China in about AD At the time, the Han dynasty was already weak. Soon afterward, China collapsed into civil war. People everywhere were dying from war and a lack of food and shelter. It was a time of great suffering. Buddhism taught that people could escape their suffering by following its principles. As a result, many Chinese seeking peace and comfort became Buddhists.

20 B. The Tang dynasty allowed people to practice Buddhism and supported the building of Buddhist temples. Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism all flourished during Tang rule, with many – but not all – Tang emperors and officials practicing and supporting Buddhism. For instance, before her marriage, Empress Wu had lived in a Buddhist monastery. Also, the number of Buddhist monasteries in Chinas was at its highest during the early Tang.

21 C. Monasteries are places where monks and nuns meditate and worship
C. Monasteries are places where monks and nuns meditate and worship. In China, monasteries provided services for people. Many Chinese Buddhists became monks and nuns. They lived in places called monasteries, where they meditated and worshiped. Buddhist temples and monasteries provided services for people. They ran schools and provided rooms and food for travelers. Buddhist monks served as bankers and provided medical care.

22 D. As Buddhism became more popular, the Tang dynasty began to feel threatened. The rulers ordered many Buddhist monasteries and temples destroyed in AD 845. Not all Chinese people liked Buddhism, however. Many thought that it was wrong for the Buddhist temples and monasteries to accept donations. Others believed that monks and nuns weakened respect for family life because they were not allowed to marry. In the early AD 800s, Tang officials feared Buddhism’s growing power. They saw Buddhism as an enemy of China’s traditions. The Tang leaders had based their government on Confucian ideals, particularly the imperative of orderly respect between ruler and ruled. Increased xenophobia with the shrinking of the empire after the mid-eighth century led some to condemn Buddhism as a foreign, and therefore impure, belief system. In addition, the growing economic power of the monasteries, which were not taxed, and the increasing numbers of monks and nuns entering monasteries where they were beyond the taxing power of the state, led Emperor Wu Zong to repress Buddhism. He ordered the destruction of 4,600 monasteries and 40,000 temples. Even though Buddhism continued to be practice underground, it never fully recovered.

23 E. Buddhism spread from China to Korea, and the Korean government supported the religion.
Korea broke free of China when the Han dynasty fell in AD For several hundred years after, Korea was divided into three distinct kingdoms. In the AD 300s, Chinese Buddhists brought a new and vibrant form of Buddhism called Chan to Korea. Chan stresses personal enlightenment not through study of classical Buddhist texts, but rather through intense, quiet meditation. The Chan sect was a small one that appealed primarily to the elite who could afford the time to meditate and to retreat into the world of contemplation. Chinese Buddhist monks were attracted to Chan because of simplicity and because it could easily be combined with Daoist ideas. About AD 660, the Koreans united to form one country. After that, with government support, Buddhism grew even stronger in Korea.

24 F. Buddhism spread to the nearby islands of Japan
Buddhism later spread to the nearby islands of Japan. According to legend, one of Korea’s kings wrote to Japan’s emperor. The letter contained a statue of the Buddha and Buddhist writings. “This religion is the most excellent of all teachings,” the king wrote. As time passed, Buddhism won many followers in Japan as well.

25 Objective 2: Discuss why Buddhism became popular and spread
After the Han dynasty, China was torn by civil war. War, disease, and starvation was killing millions of Chinese. People were suffering. Buddhism taught that if people followed its principles, they could escape their suffering and find comfort and peace.

26 Objective 3: Describe the ideas of Confucius and the new class of scholar-officials

27 III. New Confucian Ideas (pages 258-259)
A. Confucius and his followers believed government officials should be wise. Confucius and his followers believed that a good government depended on having wise leaders who ruled to benefit the people. The civil service examinations introduced by the Han rulers were a product of Confucian ideas. These examinations were supposed to recruit talented government officials.

28 B. Tang and Song rulers reinstated civil service examinations
B. Tang and Song rulers reinstated civil service examinations. These challenging examinations were supposed to recruit good government officials. Government by meritocracy was one of the crowning achievements of the Song dynasty. In the Song meritocracy, bureaucrats earned and kept their positions according to their abilities and performance. Song meritocracy was squarely based on Confucian traditions, which theoretically required the state’s most talented subjects to serve in the civil service. In reality, Confucian-based bureaucracy before the Song had been dominated by the sons of wealthy, landowning aristocrats and civil servants. This was true in large part because only the upper classes in Chinese society had enough money to spend on the private education necessary to prepare their sons adequately for the civil service examinations, which tested whether applicants should be eligible for government positions. In addition, for a long time, public servants received their positions through recommendations. Song emperors, however, insured that the most talented Chinese young men, despite their economic status, could become civil servants by seeking out promising students among all ranks of society. Conversely, more Chinese had the free time to study for the exams when the government-regulated equal-field system fell into disuse after the late eighth century. Thus, during the Song dynasty, students showing aptitude were recruited and educated so that they would be able to take the all-important civil service exam. During the Song dynasty, as civil servants, or scholars, grew to be the most powerful people in the emperor’s government, the civil service examination became the most important event in Chinese society. Civil servants were chosen according to the scores they achieved on the exam, also called “the Ladder to the Clouds.” The exam was exceedingly difficult: each of the four levels of increasingly challenging tests took all day and required superior knowledge of Confucian classic texts, poetry, government, administration, and sometimes calligraphy. Most students took the first exam around the age of 23 (school began at about age four), and the few people who passed the final test – between 2 and 10 percent of thousands that took the tests each year – were usually in their mid-30s. Those who passed the exams were conferred the prestigious title of scholar and could become administration officials, poets, or historians. Passing the exam, however, did not guarantee a candidate an automatic appointment to a position; it merely allowed him to apply for a job in the government.

29 C. The Tang dynasty supported neo-Confucianism to reduce Buddhism’s popularity. Neo-Confucianism taught that people should take part in life and help each other. The Tang dynasty gave its support to a new kind of Confucianism called neo-Confucianism. This new Confucianism was created, in part, to reduce Buddhism’s popularity. It taught that life in this world was just as important as the afterlife. Followers were expected to take part in life and help others. Although it criticized Buddhist ideas this new form of Confucianism also picked up some Buddhist and Daoist beliefs. For many Chinese, Confucianism became more than a system of rules for being good. It became a religion with beliefs about the spiritual world. Confucian thinkers taught that if people followed Confucius’s teachings, they would find peace of mind and live in harmony with nature.

30 D. The Song dynasty adopted neo-Confucianism as their official philosophy, or belief system.
E. The examination system created a wealthy class of scholar-officials. The Song dynasty, which followed the Tang, also supported neo-Confucianism. The Song even adopted it as their official philosophy, or belief system.

31 Objective 3: Describe the ideas of Confucius and the new class of scholar-officials
Created to reduce the popularity of Buddhism, neo-Confucianism taught that life in this world was just as important as the afterlife. Followers were expected to take part in life and help others. A new wealthy class in China, the scholar-officials developed as a result of the civil service examinations. Soon, this new class began to influence Chinese thought and government.

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