Liu Bang and Liu Bei

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Liu Bang and Liu Bei

Unread postby hegemonxiang » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:25 am

Both Liu Bang ( Han Gaozu ) and Liu Bei ( Emperor Zhaolie ) is nobel character in historical, before the Han dynasty establish. Han Gaozu is very trusted to his general, but become suspicious on their loyalty after the Han established. Is Emperor Zhaolie will having the same fate if Shu successfully united the three kingdoms period?
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Re: Liu Bang and Liu Bei

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:50 pm

My limited understanding is that Liu Bang was quite the jerk and his generals had a degree of independence that, bar Guan Yu who could be trusted, none of Shu's generals really had. Hard to see, bar a few like Wei Yan or of untested loyalty like Ma Chao, where the threats would have come from in Liu Bei's own army.

If there were uncontrollable, untrustworthy and what have you generals then yes, Liu Bei would have been as ruthless. Liu Bei may have been kind historically (not sure I would say noble) but he also showed that he would kill to secure his regime. Paranoid? I don't think he showed signs of that, sure a few jerk kills, but who knows how he would have changed if he ruled the entire country.
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Re: Liu Bang and Liu Bei

Unread postby Jordan » Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:26 am

When a person comes to power over a country with a state structure like Han China's, it is not uncommon for them to become suspicious of former allies/vassals. In the process of centralizing the state, they often end up being opposed by the same people who supported their rise to power. That's why the founder of the Song dynasty, upon his rise to power, convened a meeting with his most veteran officers and basically offered them the best possible incentives to retire. He did this to avoid a violent power struggle of the sort that had been common in preceding times. There are analogs even in more modern Chinese history. Lin Biao and Peng Dehuai both fell out of favor and lost their lives after the Communist takeover of China even though they had been critical to the success of the Communists. If looked at from this point of view, Liu Bang's actions in some respects were in a way inevitable. After uniting the country it was critical for him to consolidate his gains and get rid of any would-be rebels. It's debatable whether or not he was overzealous in doing so. I suspect that many would have done the same thing Liu Bang did.
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Re: Liu Bang and Liu Bei

Unread postby Zhai Rong » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:32 am

The generals that Liu Bang distrusted and acted against were all men with their own power base as well as being from outside the circle of Pei officials who had served him from the start. Han Xin (King of Qi), Peng Yue, Qing Bu, Han Xin (King of Han) and Zang Tu all had power that was not derived from Liu Bang's authority, with the latter four already having an established base of support prior to joining Liu Bang. The likes of Zhou Bo, Fan Kuai and Cao Can were also pretty important as generals in the establishment of Han but didn't end up losing their heads because they didn't pose any threat.

This was not the case with Liu Bei during his rule. His core generals derived their authority from him and did not have anything like the autonomy that Han Xin used to establish his power. Circumstances would likely have changed had he been more successful. If he conquered Liang, there would have been pressure to leave Ma Chao there as governor. If he conquered one of the capitals and moved his base there, he would have left behind one of the better connected locals to govern Shu. As part of the conquest of Wu and Wei, he might have had to make use of extravagant promises to attract defectors (like those made to Qing Bu). By the time he became Emperor, he'd have quite a few governors with strong local connections, sizable armies and not necessarily a lot of loyalty to him.
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Re: Liu Bang and Liu Bei

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:36 am

I think the posters in this thread are spot on. Liu Bei never got big enough and powerful enough to be in Liu Bang's situation, but conflicts between the conquerors and their subjects and supporters are always inevitable in a non-feudal system. If you want an example, look at the way Cao Cao treated many of his most important supporters (ie. Xun Yu, Yang Xiu etc.) later, and look at the way Sun Quan treated Lu Xun eventually. Both Cao Cao and Sun Quan eventually had huge conflicts against some of the gentry clans who supported them.

If you want an example of the other way around, where the Emperor couldn't deal with his most powerful subject, have a look at the Tang Dynasty, where Li Shimin who had a lot of support from his days in the military, eventually lead a coup and killed the Crown Prince and then deposed his father.

Or even Sima Yi's coup against Cao Shuang can be argued to be another case where the Emperor (or in this case the Imperial Clan) couldn't deal with their supporters.
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