My name is Liu Bei and I'm a dictator!

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My name is Liu Bei and I'm a dictator!

Unread postby Cao Zhi » Wed Feb 19, 2003 4:19 am

In Jacques Gernet's A History of Chinese Civilization:

"...while the Kingdom of Wu was ruled by a sort of confederation of the most powerful families of the Yangtze valley, centralizing tendancies won the day in Szechwan: like Wei, Shu-Han was a military state governed by 'Legalist' advisors..." (p. 179)

The book establishes that both Wei and Shu were autocratic states each governed by one family, and it is a fact of life that a dictator can usually pass laws with minimal hassle and trouble. So, the book goes on to describe Cao Cao's various legal, military and agricultural reforms, especially the t'un-t'ien, the New Code, and the chiu-p'in, which made the promotion of civil servants more efficient and streamlined. However, the book is silent on Liu Bei's respective decrees and reforms (or Sun Quan's for that matter). This is perhaps since Shu and Wu were conquered in the end and subjected to Wei/Jin's laws, but I would still like to learn for the policies of those two fallen nations. Can any of you perhaps shed some light on these reforms and laws?
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Unread postby Jimayo » Wed Feb 19, 2003 8:00 am

I'll do a little research in GOS, and see what Rafe has to say about Wu's policies.
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Unread postby Erdrick » Thu Feb 20, 2003 3:40 am

That, and general books on vast areas of subjects are more suspect. (I remember reading in Britannica how Cao Mengde was adopted, not his father)

Besides, Legalism was one of the two main schools of political thought in the day
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Thu Feb 20, 2003 4:35 pm

Wu = the collection of the most powerful families south of the Yangzi (Wu, Sun, Lu, Zhou, He etc etc), basically all gentry families and families that held rank during the Han.
Shu = Basically legalist but also a part Confucian, so I disagree with the book. Legalist and Confucianists clashed in the Qin/Han Dynasties.
Wei = I believe the most Confucian of all the three Kingdoms, and also the most aristocratic

Wu was nothing like the North, most of it was occupied by either powerful gentry families or surrounded by non-chinese immigrants and exiles. The agriculture was simple and unadvanced, nothing like the North.
However I remember that for example, Lu Xun, was appointed to reform some of the agriculture in Wu. Moreover I am sure that Zhang Zhao, Zhang Hong and Lü Fan had their share of reforms in laws, military laws and no doubt the administration. Sun Quan himself supplied a collection of new laws relating to the formation of armies, their equipment etc

Don't ask me about Shu....not my area :lol:

I think, by the time of Liu Bei's occupation of Yizhou he was already in his mid 50ties? I don't think he was reforming anything with maybe the exception of his harem. :lol:
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Unread postby Jimayo » Thu Feb 20, 2003 4:53 pm

Let's not forget that Wu was basically a warlord state, and was constantly at War. With Wei, with Shu, with Liu Biao, and with the Shanyue.
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Thu Feb 20, 2003 6:11 pm

Azrael wrote:Let's not forget that Wu was basically a warlord state, and was constantly at War. With Wei, with Shu, with Liu Biao, and with the Shanyue.


Not Liu Biao, Huang Zu. Liu Biao cared little for the Sun family, and Huang Zu was the main target of the Sun family in all their campaigns. Also, the rulers of Wei had a personal interest in the war with Wu, they probably saw Wu as more of a threat than dictator Liu. :lol:
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Unread postby Jimayo » Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:53 pm

Jonathan Wu wrote:Not Liu Biao, Huang Zu. Liu Biao cared little for the Sun family, and Huang Zu was the main target of the Sun family in all their campaigns. Also, the rulers of Wei had a personal interest in the war with Wu, they probably saw Wu as more of a threat than dictator Liu. :lol:


I hope you mean the younger Liu, cause Cao Cao thought the elder was his biggest rival/threat.
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Thu Feb 20, 2003 9:41 pm

Azrael wrote:
I hope you mean the younger Liu, cause Cao Cao thought the elder was his biggest rival/threat.


Nope, I mean Liu Bei. When Cao Cao rushing through Jing, I don't remember him being scared of Liu Bei. But I do remember him sending a letter to Sun Quan to intimidate him. If you go by SGYY, then yeah, Cao Cao considered Liu Bei the "other hero", but I think these things are so grosely biased in a Han/North way (like my earlier debate on Liu Bei being the "perfect ruler" in the style of Zhu Yuanzhang, but I digress).
Honestly if Cao Cao really thought Shu would be his biggest threat, he is quite stupid. :lol:
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Unread postby Jimayo » Thu Feb 20, 2003 9:54 pm

Jonathan Wu wrote:Nope, I mean Liu Bei. When Cao Cao rushing through Jing, I don't remember him being scared of Liu Bei. But I do remember him sending a letter to Sun Quan to intimidate him. If you go by SGYY, then yeah, Cao Cao considered Liu Bei the "other hero", but I think these things are so grosely biased in a Han/North way (like my earlier debate on Liu Bei being the "perfect ruler" in the style of Zhu Yuanzhang, but I digress).
Honestly if Cao Cao really thought Shu would be his biggest threat, he is quite stupid. :lol:


Actually I am told the conversation about heroes did take place. But that's besides the point.

Let's be honest, neither really posed much of a threat. Not really. Much as they tried they never gained any ground on Wei.
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Thu Feb 20, 2003 9:58 pm

Azrael wrote:
Actually I am told the conversation about heroes did take place. But that's besides the point.

Let's be honest, neither really posed much of a threat. Not really. Much as they tried they never gained any ground on Wei.


I do not trust any record of a spoken conversation. The quotes coming from Jiangbiao Zhuan and Wu Li shouldn't be taken too seriously I think.

I'd argue that Wei was defeated at Hanzhong, and that the victories of the later Wei should be attributed to Sima Yi and the Jin clan, seeing as the Cao family was most comprised of teens under the guard of people with sharp swords. ^_^;;
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