Liu Bei, shu's downfall?

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Liu Bei, shu's downfall?

Unread postby Meng Qi of Maoling » Sun Nov 30, 2003 7:12 pm

I was just wondering about this and perhaps I am very incorrect. However, could it be that Liu Bei was Shu's worst threat? His honorable behavior won him the allegience and respect of many, but his reluctancy to take provinces (such as Jingzhou from Liu Zhang) caused futher problems. If Liu Bei was cunning and ambitious (though some may argue he was) could he have suceeded quickly in his plans for restoration of the Han dynasty?
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Unread postby jiuwan » Mon Dec 01, 2003 1:58 am

The problem with all three kingdoms was that they neglected to learn from the previous dynasties.

In Shu's case, Liu Shan didn't learn from the last emperors of Latter Han. He held too much trust in Huang Hao, and that can be seen as a contributing factor to the downfall of Shu.

In both Wu's and Wei's cases, they were plagued with women problems. Yes, you heard me correct. Women. Those two kingdoms had problems because of the consorts and empressess' families. Their respected families had gain influence through the marriage links and gained more power into the government; something that plagued the Latter Han reigns.

During Cao Cao's reign, family members weren't promoted to high positions. During Cao Pi's reign, he had an edict stating that eunuchs would not advance to a certain position; thus holding the eunuchs rising power like during Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling's reign. But during Cao Rui's reign, he started promoting family members; despite, the fact they didn't hold any merit. He also posthumously awarded titles on his empressess' family members; something Cao Pi explicity said not to do.

I personally think that there were many contributing factors for each kingdoms downfall. In Shu's case, I think it was more Liu Shan's fault than Liu Bei's.
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Unread postby Jiang Zhi » Mon Dec 01, 2003 5:22 am

jiuwan wrote:During Cao Cao's reign, family members weren't promoted to high positions. During Cao Pi's reign, he had an edict stating that eunuchs would not advance to a certain position; thus holding the eunuchs rising power like during Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling's reign. But during Cao Rui's reign, he started promoting family members; despite, the fact they didn't hold any merit. He also posthumously awarded titles on his empressess' family members; something Cao Pi explicity said not to do.


You mean family members without merit weren't promoted to high positions in Cao Cao's reign? I am arguing this because of the following reasons:
Cao Ren was in charge of the North Jing area, correct?
Xiahou Yuan and Cao Hong were placed in charge of the Changan/Hanzhong area if memory serves me right...
Xiahou Dun also has something important I think...
However, non-family members like Zhang Liao also had pretty prestiegious positions (Hefei/Shouchun area)
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Unread postby Six_and_Up » Mon Dec 01, 2003 5:27 am

Well those generals related to Cao Cao were all talented, not like the guys Cao Rui promoted to the top, i.e Xiahou Ba. Besides if Cao Cao cared so much for his relatives why the heck would he place Cao Ren and Zhang Liao at probably some of the most dangerous postion for Wei at the time?
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Unread postby Jiang Zhi » Mon Dec 01, 2003 5:36 am

Six_and_Up wrote:Well those generals related to Cao Cao were all talented, not like the guys Cao Rui promoted to the top, i.e Xiahou Ba. Besides if Cao Cao cared so much for his relatives why the heck would he place Cao Ren and Zhang Liao at probably some of the most dangerous postion for Wei at the time?


Did you mean Xiahou Mao? heh......Xiahou Mao's totally useless (sorry Rob :P)

Anyway, I think Cao Cao placed risked Cao Ren and Zhang Liao (who's not a relative) at the most dangerous dangerous positions was because he trusted them and they were generals with reputation. Remember, Guan Yu feared Lu Meng and that was why he did not attack Xiangyang. When Lu Meng feigned sickness, Guan Yu immediately marched north. Cao Ren and Zhang Liao were also really effective generals and were experienced knowing what to do in dangerous situations :) Regarding Xiahou Yuan, he lost his life because he was too impatient and also, too full of himself :P
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I agree

Unread postby Cao Zijian » Mon Dec 01, 2003 7:50 am

I actually agree with the topic that Liu Bei might have jolly well been a big factor in Shu's downfall. Allow me to name a few instances:-

1) His short-sightedness in allowing Lu Bu into Xiao Pei although he has been forewarned by Sun Qian, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu.

2) Liu Bei's choice to allow the peasants that admire him in Xinye to pursue him when Cao Cao's legions were closing in really quick.

3) His rejection of Zhuge's plan to claim the Jing region for himself from the ailing Liu Qi and the infant Liu Zong.

4) His adamant stance to invade Wu in avenging the death of Guan Yu, his sworn brother. (This indirectly brought the death of Zhang Fei, in the midst of preparing for the expedition.)

As you can see, these points above are all major turning points in Liu Bei's life. But then again, one thing would lead to the other and you might never know what it would be like if any single one event above did not occur.
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Re: Liu Bei, shu's downfall?

Unread postby Ma Zhi Xuan » Mon Dec 01, 2003 5:45 pm

Meng Qi of Maoling wrote:However, could it be that Liu Bei was Shu's worst threat? His honorable behavior won him the allegience and respect of many, but his reluctancy to take provinces (such as Jingzhou from Liu Zhang) caused futher problems.

Liu Bei didn't want to take Jingzhou from Liu Biao because he thought it wrong to take something from a relative when they're weak and feeble because it's unloyal and dishonourable. Although, he did take Sichuan from Liu Zhang, but because is was an excellent base, geographically and economically, plus Sichuan was Cao Cao's next target area for invasion which would give Cao Cao a great advantage in his plan for unifacation, so Liu Bei didn't have a choice if he wanted to eventually defeat Cao Cao and reunite China.
If Liu Bei was cunning and ambitious (though some may argue he was) could he have suceeded quickly in his plans for restoration of the Han dynasty?

Liu Bei was very ambitious, he started as a mat weaver and in the end became an emeperor because he wanted to restore the Han and prevent people like Dong Zhou and Cao Cao from ruling China which is very loyal and honourable.
Liu Bei was quite smart as well, he defeated Xiahou Dun with a force that was roughly half Dun's(I think) through strategic deployment. His loss of Xuzhou to Lu Bu was because Zhang Fei gave his word that he would drink too much wine and become drunk, resulting in Fei potentially hurting offending, however he did and Lu Bu saw it as a chance to take it, plus Zhang Fei had offended Lu Bu's son-in-law where he went and told Lu Bu of what Zhang Fei did and captured Xuzhou.
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Re: Liu Bei, shu's downfall?

Unread postby Meng Qi of Maoling » Mon Dec 01, 2003 6:30 pm

Josh wrote:
Meng Qi of Maoling wrote:However, could it be that Liu Bei was Shu's worst threat? His honorable behavior won him the allegience and respect of many, but his reluctancy to take provinces (such as Jingzhou from Liu Zhang) caused futher problems.

Liu Bei didn't want to take Jingzhou from Liu Biao because he thought it wrong to take something from a relative when they're weak and feeble because it's unloyal and dishonourable. Although, he did take Sichuan from Liu Zhang, but because is was an excellent base, geographically and economically, plus Sichuan was Cao Cao's next target area for invasion which would give Cao Cao a great advantage in his plan for unifacation, so Liu Bei didn't have a choice if he wanted to eventually defeat Cao Cao and reunite China.
If Liu Bei was cunning and ambitious (though some may argue he was) could he have suceeded quickly in his plans for restoration of the Han dynasty?

Liu Bei was very ambitious, he started as a mat weaver and in the end became an emeperor because he wanted to restore the Han and prevent people like Dong Zhou and Cao Cao from ruling China which is very loyal and honourable.
Liu Bei was quite smart as well, he defeated Xiahou Dun with a force that was roughly half Dun's(I think) through strategic deployment. His loss of Xuzhou to Lu Bu was because Zhang Fei gave his word that he would drink too much wine and become drunk, resulting in Fei potentially hurting offending, however he did and Lu Bu saw it as a chance to take it, plus Zhang Fei had offended Lu Bu's son-in-law where he went and told Lu Bu of what Zhang Fei did and captured Xuzhou.


First of all thank you all for your responses.

When did Liu Bei defeat Xiahou Dun's force? I was under the impression that Xu Shu's strategy defeated Xiahou Dun's force with fire.

Either way, I agree that Liu Bei was an honorable, loyal, and humane man. My question was that if he had layed aside his high moral codes, could he have achieved more?
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Unread postby Jiang Xun » Mon Dec 01, 2003 7:05 pm

Had Liu Bei been the complete opposite of what he was, he prob wouldn't have done anything of the sort. People flocked to him because his high morale standing, if he dropped that, they might have gone to Cao Cao, or Sun Quan instead, or just never would have been found.

He was popular with the people for the reasons he WOULDN'T do certain things, and to ask what would have happened if he had done the opposite, other prob would have just saw him as another Cao Cao, only not as resourceful.
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Unread postby Zhilong » Mon Dec 01, 2003 7:17 pm

The strength of Liu Bei's cause lies with his imperial background and his righteousness. If ppl want to follow a leader with power who has no morals then they will go to Cao Cao or Sun Quan. Why bother going to the underdog?

The passage in SGYY where he compares himself with Cao Cao and talks of how his appeal lies in being the direct opposite of the novel Cao Cao is quite interesting.

As Machiavelli says, it is best to at least appear virtuous even if one is not. (Zhilong paraphrase) :P

If he was a wretch who displayed absolutely no morals but was just a greedy wretch who would have offered him refuge, troops, territory time and again? Look at how long ppl like Yuan Shu. Lu Bu & Dong Zhou ended up.

If even a tyrant like Cao Cao needs to ensure a degree of popular support it is ever more so true for the weaker Liu Bei who for most of his life was nothing but a wanderer. The leap from sandle weaver to Emperor is not an easy step to make.

Of course being righteous also has it's costs but Jing & Xuzhou did end up in his hands eventually and look what happened to Lu Bu when he stole Liu Bei's territory.

In the novel at least i think Liu Bei's biggest mistake was marching on Wu for revenge - he was doing it for himself as an oath brother rather than as a ruler doing the best for his state. In history, revenge probably wasn't what was on his mind.

Unification wasn't going to come easy as was evident in history. While his Wu campaign had an impact it was hardly that which let Deng Ai into Shu and made Liu Shan surrender.
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