汉武帝 Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty
Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty
Reigned from 140 BC to 87 BC, Liu Che was known as the Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty. This half century was a period in which Chinese civilization flourished.
Soon after he founded the Han Dynasty, Liu Bang granted territories in strategic parts of the country to nobles of his clan, with the title "king". The kings had their own armies, levied their own taxes, issued currency, and appointed and removed officials within their own jurisdictions.
When Emperor Wudi came to the throne, fearing that the kings were too powerful, he instituted a system whereby the descendants of the kings inherited parts of the kingdoms as marquisates. Thus the kingdoms quickly became divided into smaller and weaker territories, and came under the direct control of the imperial court. Later, Emperor Wudi went even further, depriving many nobles of their titles, and strengthening central rule.
It was during the reign of Emperor Wudi that the Confucian scholar Dong Zhongshu adapted Confucian theory to the needs of centralized politics.
First, he stressed that Heaven dominated everything in the world. The emperor was the Son of Heaven, and he ruled over the people on behalf of Heaven. Therefore, all people, including kings, should abide by the will of the emperor, a concept which was called "grand unification".
Second, Dong Zhongshu advocated suppressing the "Hundred Schools of Thought" and making Confucianism the state ideology. This, he argued, would unify the people's minds, which in turn would consolidate political unity.
Emperor Wudi was impressed by Dong Zhongshu's theories, and filled his administration with Confucian scholars. Confucianism thereby got a foothold as the dominant ideology in China's feudal society.