Advisor to a New President

Imagine that the United States has elected a new president who possesses very little foreign policy knowledge or experience. He asks you to draft a memo in which you explain to him whether Traditional China was a warlike nation with a history of conquest. Write that memo based on what you have learned this semester.

Question 2: Social Mobility in Chinese History

In this class we have frequently spoken of China as a hierarchical society. Given what you have learned this semester, do you think hierarchy kept people from raising their social status (that is, from becoming members of the elite)? If so, explain how hierarchy presented a barrier to social mobility. If no, explain the mechanisms that allowed for upward social mobility.

Question 3: More Than a Confucian Society?

Early in the semester we studied the period of the Hundred Schools of Thought, when different ideologies competed for dominance. As we also studied, the Han period saw the triumph of Confucianism as China’s ruling ideology. Yet, is it possible to say that China was governed by more than Confucianism, and that “Traditional China” should not be considered Confucian-only? There are various ways to approach this question. You might, for example, consider the persistence of the other, non-Confucian schools of thought in the post-Han period. Or you might consider ways in which Confucianism mattered more in theory than in practice.

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