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2007 Dbq Essay Ap World History

Autor:   •  January 7, 2016  •  Essay  •  1,167 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,442 Views

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In the beginning of the first millennium AD, Han China and Imperial Rome emerged as the two greatest empires of their time. As technology improved, both empires utilized what was known to further their power. However, Chinese and Roman attitudes towards technology were very different. While Han China almost glorified technology as a responsibility and gift to its culture, Imperial Rome viewed technology simply as a practical and necessary part of Roman civilization.

Han Chinese had a respect for technology and believed it was essential for prosperity. At the time the government took the task to improve technology. An anonymous Han government official sent out a mandate to place more government control over the creation of dikes. He requests the local officials to establish water departments to combat the flooding problems (Doc 1). It can be seen that the government feels the need to step in and utilize technology to improve its civilization. As a government official, the Anonymous Official may simply wish to keep order and peace rather than improve technology. The government was also expected to do a good job using technology. Huan Guan criticizes the government’s failure to do this, saying that before the state’s involvement technology had helped peasants greatly. He complains that the people are deprived of important technology such as iron tools, mentioning that they must now use “wooden plows” (Doc. 2). It can be concluded that Huan Guan believes the government’s misbehavior has resulted in deprivation of much needed technology, showing that Chinese at the time greatly valued technology. Huan Guan’s main purpose appears to inform the Chinese why they are facing such hardships and how to fix their problems. However, as he is a government official he is also looking to strengthen the Han state. Guan argues that before government intervention the workers simply “paid a tax” and that after the state-monopoly peasants could not effectively “till the soil”. This hints that he believed without government-involvement the state would actually benefit as the labor force would be more efficient. A document of the emperor’s perspective on the use of technology would help historians further understand how essential Han Chinese believed technology to be.

More than that, Han Chinese considered technology almost like a divine gift from moral emperors. Huan Tan, a Han philosopher around 20 AD, contributed many technological achievements to a mythological emperor named Fuxi. He stressed how Fuxi’s inventions increased the efficiency “a hundredfold” (Doc 3). As an upper class philosopher, Huan Tan may be trying to exalt the emperor and noble class. However, it seems that Tan is genuinely grateful for the emperor Fuxi’s contributions. A government-sponsored history document says that technology was a gift to the people. The History of the Early Han Dynasty describes governor Tu Shih as righteous, saying he was “generous”


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