The Grandeur of the Qing | Asia for Educators

I. Teachers’ Guide

Qing State

Study Questions:

  1. Explain the concept of the "Mandate of Heaven".
    1. How did this differ from the concept of the "divine right of kings" in Western Europe, for example?
    2. What are the pros and cons of the two concepts in terms of their implications for political power?
  2. How did the Qing use the concept of the "Mandate of Heaven" to justify their overthrow of the Ming dynasty?
    1. Can you explain why the Qing continued to pay homage to the Ming emperors through ritual veneration?
    2. How did this reinforce the concept of the Mandate of Heaven?
  3. Look at the scroll depiction of the Kangxi emperor arriving at Mt. Tai.

    Silk, Imperial Legitimacy and the Cosmic Order: The Kangxi Emperor's Visit to Mt. Tai

    Interactive: Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour, Scroll 3: Ji'nan to Mt. Tai

    1. What is the significance of Mt. Tai?
    2. What is the significance of the Kangxi Emperor’s stop at the mountain?
    3. How is it related to the concept of the "Mandate of Heaven"?
  4. Look at the portion of the scroll where the Qianlong Emperor is depicted inspecting work done along the banks of the rivers.

    Controlling the Waters: The Qianlong Emperor's Inspection of Water Control Measures at Huai and Yellow Rivers

    Interactive: Qianlong Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour, Scroll 4: Confluence of the Huai and Yellow Rivers

    1. Why would the Emperor have chosen to make a stop at this site?
    2. What is the significance of his being depicted overseeing the work?
  5. Explain how a hierarchically structured bureaucracy works. How do you think this supports centralized control by the imperial government in Beijing?
  6. What is a "meritocracy"?
    1. How does it differ from an "aristocracy"?
    2. What would be the implications for government?
  7. What function did the "examination system" serve in China?
  8. Explain how a Chinese bureaucratic might have "two loyalties" or two orientations when serving in the government.
    1. What are the pros and cons of this for the empire?
    2. How was the "rule of avoidance" related to this issue?
  9. Which European and American theorists were impressed by the Chinese system of government as they learned more about it?
    1. How was it similar to and different from government in Europe at this time?
    2. When were "civil service examinations" introduced in England? In France? In the United States?
  10. How much did the Chinese population increase during the period of the Qing dynasty?
    1. Did the size of the bureaucracy governing the country also increase?
    2. What were the implications of this?
  11. Explain the innovation in tax policy that occurred during the Qing
    1. How did
    2. Would you expect that the Chinese government would tax commerce and trade?
      1. Why?
      2. Are you right or wrong?
  12. What was the "secret palace memorial system"?
    1. What was its purpose?
    2. Do you think this is a good system or not?
    3. Can you think of other situations in contemporary times when such a system might be useful?
    4. What role does a "free press" play in this regard?