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Political Control in Han China vs.

Imperial Rome

In many ways, Han China and Imperial Rome were both mostly successful empires that
were very advanced for their time period, and they politically controlled themselves in both very
similar and diverse ways. The similarities being that the government benefited through
expansion, which allowed for new rules and laws that offered support and success to them.
Although there were similarities, there were also differences such as Rome being a republic and
China being dynastic, and Han China focused more on the legal aspects and Imperial Rome
focused more on its political control and government, both of which caused each empire to
control themselves in a different, successful way.

Han China and Imperial Rome were politically controlled differently because Rome was
a monarchy eventually transformed into a republic from 507-31 BCE, and China was dynastic. In
Rome, rulers were elected by the citizens, and the senate, council of elders, and multiple
assemblies shared the power. However, in Han China rulers were born into the system and
controlled the empire along with a bureaucracy, and other government jobs were given through a
spoils system which was neither fair nor equal to the people of Han China. Later on in the
empire, this system changed to a merit system making it more equal for everyone other than the
emperor, all of them were born into the rule. In these two empires. political aspects played very
different roles, Imperial Rome revolved around its social structures and social statuses,
meanwhile Han China focused more on legalism and its strict legal structures and punishments
rather than on its social structures.

Expansion benefited both empires and they were more successful as they grew in size, both of
which were guided by political control of the new areas. In Han China, Han Wudi helped expand
the government with the Civil Service Examination, which allowed the government and political
control flourish because it allowed for new, stronger leaders to take part in it and the expansion
helped spread the Chinese ways of life. Similar to this, in Rome laws were written down on 12
stone tablets with new officials, allowed everyone including the new citizens to see their laws,
and it was a result of the expansion. Also, this expansion in Rome led to new provinces were
made in all of the states including the newly conquered ones such as the tribes in Italy,
Phoenicians in the Mediterranean, and the new citizens of Gaul, which was conquered by Caesar.
Senators from the powerful roman senate were sent to many places throughout the empire to
collect taxes from the citizens. The empire was made of many citizens and it grew frequently
because the government offered citizenship to everyone they conquered, this gave them more
money from taxation and a higher amount of people loyal to the Roman government.

Other than differences and similarities in political control, there were also many
contrasting things in the society of the two empires. China and Rome both had social classes,
though they were much stricter in Rome, China was patriarchal. In Imperial Rome, slaves were
heavily relied on and in Han Chinese, the peasant class was present and relied on more than
slaves were. In these empires, land and agriculture were the basis of wealth. Both experienced
rebellions and conflicts of the lower classes, in Han China, the Yellow turban rebellion occurred
because of unequal land distribution and the emperors not being able to solve the problem. In
Rome, the plebeians were at conflict with the patricians in the Conflict of Order, which was
also a result of inequality and the plebeians had a desire for equal rights. Overall, both Han
China and Imperial Rome had very diverse but also very similar ways of ruling and organizing
themselves as an empire, and both were mostly successful.