Asian Empire Case Study

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Asian Empires: Balancing Control Empires, by their nature, are difficult to control. By definition they are large states, ruling over a number of different nations and peoples. Ruling an empire means having appeal simultaneously to all of the various beliefs of one’s subjects while also juggling their various needs. The Tokugawa, Manchu, and Moghul states were no exceptions when it came to this. Each of them had to cope with the great cultural and religious diversity present throughout the Asian continent, and did this in some similar ways. For them, the key to ruling their empires was to employ a mostly hands-off approach in order to keep their subjects happy, only using their power for conducting foreign relations and ensuring the loyalty…show more content…
Local autonomy works fine in times of peace, but when greater conflict arises, the states need to be able to rely on the loyalty of their subjects. That meant that sometimes greater control had to be exercised, as it was during the Qing Dynasty. The Manchu used fear and censorship to ensure the people’s loyalty. One way they did this was by collecting literature and other works that they approved of, while leaving out those that they did not, thus restricting the people’s access to only the works that the Qing found acceptable. They also kept their subjects in check through more symbolic means. They enacted a mandate that obligated all males of a certain age to shave their foreheads, or else face harsh punishment. This didn’t do much to control them directly, but it functioned as a symbol of their submission and loyalty to Manchurian rule. The Tokugawa Shogunate employed direct methods of control on their citizens. The Sword Hunt mentioned earlier is one example. Another was the practice of Sankin-Kotai, or alternate residence. Daimyo were required to alternate between living on their own lands and in Edo, the capital. This allowed the Shogun to control them in two ways. The first was that the capital could keep a close eye on the daimyo while they were in Edo. The second was that making this regular pilgrimage was expensive and limited the financial growth of individual daimyo. The capital also exercised control over who the daimyo were able to marry. Controlling marriages prevented the creation of families that would have been powerful enough to threaten the Shogun, and limiting financial growth had the same
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