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    Ditmanson, Peter 1998. THE YONGLE REIGN AND THE TRANSFORMATION OFDAOXUE. Ming Studies, Vol. 1998, Issue. 1, p. 7.

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  • Print publication year: 1988
  • Online publication date: March 2008

3 - The Hung-wu reign, 1368–1398

Summary

INTRODUCTION

When Chu Yüan-chang proclaimed himself emperor of the Middle Kingdom in January 1368, his main advisers and supporters at court included three men whom he had named dukes during the previous year: the generals Hsu Ta and Ch'ang Yü-ch'un, and the civil official Li Shan-ch'ang. Hsü, from Hao-chou, Anhwei, had joined Chu's military camp in 1353. Along with thousands of other displaced persons who faced famine and disease, he began to turn against the established authority of the Yuan regime. Ch'ang Yü-ch'un was another Hao-chou native who became a warrior, and he joined Chu's camp in 1355. Li Shan-ch'ang, a native of Ting-yüan, Anhwei, stemmed from landlord stock and joined Chu in 1354. These three men were Chu's most trusted assistants in the years immediately following the establishment of the new regime. They constituted the core of the Anhwei-based group that put together the new dynasty.

During the years following the formation of this group, Chu Yüan-chang drew under his wing many other individuals, including men of arms and of learning. Among the men of learning, none ever received the recognition, status, and emoluments that Chu accorded to his military men. Although he made an effort to establish a credible civil regime based on traditional rituals and the Mandate of Heaven, during these early years the military retained the greater importance. This came about because the dynasty was the product of military campaigns to drive out the Mongol rulers, to establish a new power structure within China proper, and to unify Han Chinese rule over vast territories inhabited by hostile non-Han peoples in the west, the southwest, and the south.

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  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521243322
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