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  • Print publication year: 1986
  • Online publication date: March 2008

1 - The state and empire of Ch'in

Ch'in long existed as a small state or principality and then as a major dynasty and empire. The Chinese world became divided into a multitude of political entities; some 170 are believed to have existed during the Chou subperiod known as the Spring and Autumn period. Both non-Marxist and Marxist historians have been exercised over the appropriate use of the term feudalism. The improvement in agriculture was probably accompanied by a growth of population, despite the simultaneous intensification of warfare. In Ch'in and several contemporary principalities, the political changes just noted were accompanied by an evolution toward more sophisticated institutions and organs of central government. The Ch'in empire is regarded as the supreme embodiment of the ideas and techniques known as Legalism. Shang Yang had been chancellor in Ch'in, and Shen Pu-hai had been chancellor in the much smaller neighboring state of Hann.
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