The Reign Of The Han Dynasty Essay

The Reign Of The Han Dynasty Essay

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Towards the beginning of the Han dynasty, Chinese merchants were making vast amounts of money through the salt and iron trades. These privatized industries employed a vast number of people which had negatively impacted the tax revenue derived from the semi-feudal Chinese government. In an effort to fund the military campaigns that were being advanced in Eastern China and to protect the state from nomadic attacks, Emperor Wu enacted the nationalization of the salt and iron industries as well as the price stabilization of grain that continued into the next regime. However, the following emperor, Emperor Zhou, called upon Confucius scholars and prior officials under Wu to debate the necessity of these economic policies. Through these salt and iron debates, it can be argued that the survival and expansion of the Han dynasty was dependent upon the revenue derived from these nationalized industries and economic policies.
The reign of Emperor Wu is marked as one of the largest expansionist periods in ancient Chinese history. During his rule, he annexed vast amounts of territory as well as repelled various nomadic invasions from the north, effectively almost doubling the size of the Han empire, many of which remains as modern China today. His rule also oversaw increases in both population growth and urbanization, as well as the rise in wealth distribution amongst a growing merchant class. Overall, the economy during the Wu period can be generalized as industrious and expanding, but could not have existed without the interventionist monopolizing policies that Wu had enacted and effects they had on the general population.
In 110 BC, the Han government established the ever-normal granary system in an effort to stabilize grain prices. The ...

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...s a greater redistribution of wealth amongst the citizenry. They state that while the literati believe it was solely for profit, it was only for the best interest of the citizens.
Ultimately, Emperor Zhao decided to relax the economic policies placed by Wu, removing the monopolies on salt, iron, and liquor. While this was an effort to revert back to laissez-faire economics and allow merchants control over the industries, Bary notes "though a brief period of prosperity followed the relaxation of Emperor Wu 's fiscal policies, the economic health of the nation gradually worsened." (Bary 363) However, without these policies, Wu would have never been able to defend the empire from the nomadic attacks nor expand to the size that they did. While Wu sacrificed the economic prosperity for future dynasties, his policies were important for the survival of the Han dynasty.

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