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Why did the Ming fall?

2020-08-13 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Report范文

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下面为大家整理一篇优秀的essay代写范文 -- Why did the Ming fall?,文章讲述郑和从1405年到1433年七次前往西海,成为中国航海历史上最自豪的事件。自1402年以来,成祖就向明代太监郑和下令,率领舰队前往西海。“郑和的航程比哥伦布早87年,比加马早93年,比伽马早116年。比麦哲伦(中国文化)。明朝的远征始于欧洲国家近一个世纪。但是,为什么郑和下西洋之后,明朝就拒绝了,而欧洲国家却占领了世界上许多殖民地?实际上,中国的封建社会自明代中期以来就开始衰落。我认为原因可以从政治,经济和社会方面加以说明。

 

Why did the Ming fall?

Zheng He’s voyages to the Western Sea for seven times from 1405 to 1433 became the proudest event in Chinese navigation history. Zheng He, a court eunuch in Ming Dynasty was sent for leading fleets to the Western Sea by Emperor Cheng Zu since 1402. “Zheng He's voyages are 87 years earlier than that of Columbus, 93 years earlier than that of Gama, and 116 years earlier than that of Magellan”(Chinese Culture. Org). Ming Dynasty’s expedition started nearly a century ahead of European countries. But why Ming Dynasty declined after Zheng He’s voyages while European Countries occupied numerous colonies all over the world? As a matter of fact, Chinese feudal society began to decline since the Middle Ming Dynasty. I think the reasons can be illustrated from political, economical and social aspects.

Politically, the ruling of Ming Dynasty was nearly the darkest in Chinese history in terms of the incompetent emperors and the supreme power of eunuchs. To start with, Ming Dynasty had the most incompetent rulers than any other dynasties had. The founder of Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang (Ming Taizu, 1328-1398) was the most illiterate among all Chinese emperors. He was born in a poor peasant family with all the other family members starving to death and he was once even a beggar when he was a kid. For the lack of education, he couldn’t provide his offspring proper instruction in governing the country.

Second, the bureaucratic system of Ming Dynasty reversed the country’s development in some way. To strengthen the control of the country, Zhu Yuanzhang replaced the position of Prime Minister for the Cabinet of Grand Secretaries. As a result, the Emperor’s power was greatly enhanced because he had direct power over the Six Ministries. It may not be bad influence if the emperor was a very wise one. But the rulers in Ming Dynasty were not, so the elimination of Prime Ministry proved to be a bad impact on the country’s management.

Third, Zhu Yuanzhan’s enfeoffment was a kind of historical retroversion, which appeared only in Han Dynasty. The emperor’s initial purpose was to unite his sons against uprisings and outside invasion. It may help strengthening his power but also armed his sons, so after his grandson Zhu Yunwen took over the throne, it lasted only four years when his uncle Zhudi launched a coup. To much extent, Ming Dynasty’s enfeoffment law was a barrier to the country’s development.

Fourth is the establishment of spy agencies, which was under the direct control of the emperor, independent of the civil service bureaucracy. Since the first emperor, there emerged Jin Yi Wei, an organization formed by spy agents and Eastern Depot as well as Western Depot, formed by eunuchs. The members of Jin Yi Wei were the secret agents of the emperor, who were dispersed all over the country to spy for the emperor. The establishment of Jin Yi Wei was both a way to enhance the emperor’s absolutism and also the introduction of cruel punishment.

Eunuchs during the Ming Dynasty gained unprecedented power over state affairs. Since the Middle and Late Ming Dynasty, Eunuchs sometimes even surpassed the emperors’ power, among whom Wei Zhongxian was the most powerful and notorious eunuch in Chinese history. He was best known for his service in the court of the Tianqi Emperor (1620–27), when his power eventually rivaled that of the emperor.

The existence of Ji Yi Wei or Eastern and Western Depot deteriorated the chaos of Ming Dynasty. Many Bureaucrats were wronged by the organizations for their false accusation.

In economics, the measures taken by Ming Dynasty were not helpful, either. Although Zheng He’s exploration on the sea was more half a century ahead, the objective for the voyages was for political reason while voyages carried out by European countries were for trade purpose only. The Emperor, Zhu Di sent Zheng He on voyage was for spreading the influence of China, to show the world how powerful the country was. The navigator’s expedition facilitated China’s foreign trade to some extent, but couldn’t help too much in the economical development. In addition, the way Ming Dynasty dealt with trade was not proper. To demonstrate the the Kingdom of Heaven’s power, the court always dispatched large amount of goods to other countries. Either when Zheng He was doing trade in overseas country or when foreign leaders coming to China, China always returned their business partners with much more valued goods, which was totally against the rule of equivalent exchange.

Another obstacle in the process of Ming Dynasty’s economical development is the seclusion policy of the country, caused by coastal pirates’ invasion. Though General Qi Jiguang was sent for fighting against the pirates, the rulers took negative attitude toward the coastal invasion. The shutdown of foreign trade tremendously obstructed the country’s economy.

Socially speaking, one main factor comes from the cultural area. Because of Zhu Yuanzhang’s illiteracy, Ming Dynast had the most rigid imperial examination. The examination content was confined to the Four Books and Five Classics (traditional Confucian books) and the form was called Ba Gu Wen, a stereotyped style including eight parts. There is an old Chinese saying nothing is lofty except reading. In Chinese feudal society, one could only stand out by taking the imperial examination. So very few students would study other subjects such as natural science. The imperial examination greatly restricted the talents’ development, which accordingly affect the country’s scientific development while western countries were blooming in all areas.

With all the above-mentioned political, economical and cultural factors for the decline of Ming Dynasty, there are still some reasons which cannot be defined in one specific aspect. Some factors are intersectional. The establishment of enfeoffment also resulted in economical and social problems. The land the emperors enfeoffed the princes were robbed from the farmers. With the expansion of the princes’ families, the land plundered from the peasants was increasing, which severely restricted the development of agricultural economy. The loss of land also caused large-scale famine. In the late Ming Dynasty, thousands of people were starved to death, which finally led to the famous peasantry uprising led by Li Zicheng, who defeated Ming Dynasty’s army and founded a new regime called Dashun, which was later eliminated by Qing Dynsaty. The combined problems in the aspects of politics, economics or society finally led to the decline and collapse of Ming Dynasty, which not only signifies the dynasty’s fall but also the start of Chinese feudal system’s decline as well as the disappearance of China’s position as a superpower in the world.

 

Preliminary Bibliography Source:

1. “MingDynasty” , http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_aboutchina/2003-09/24/content_22829.htm

2. “Zheng He”,

http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_aboutchina/2003-09/24/content_22644.htm

3. Ming History, Chinese Book

 

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