Textbooks are an introduction to fundamental knowledge; they change over time because more knowledge is discovered. The discovered knowledge builds and clarifies existing or assumed facts. In other circumstances, new knowledge can discredit old knowledge. Revisions made to textbooks also alter the information in the books. The alterations also seek to add more information the existing knowledge. The Fairbank text differs from the Hevia text in terms of their argumentative approach. Fairmont chooses to explore the Qing rule from the methods applied by the Manchu in their reign; Hevia approaches the issues from the powers centers that Manchu created to control their empire. Thinking of the Qing as a multiethnic empire as opposed to a Chinese dynasty means that the Qing was made up of a diverse set of ethnicities and other demographical variations. The people under the Qing rule were not Chinese only as it expanded to cover vast areas of Asia such as Tibet and Korea. This significant shift in historical understanding takes place through the adoption of different scholarly approaches to researching the subject. Exploration of the issue from dissimilar points of view facilitates the discovery of relevant facts that were previously overlooked. The consequences of these changes are better understanding of the Qing reign. Publication of updated texts is also an expected outcome of such a significant historical change.
A common theme in all three readings is Chinese Leadership. The authors look at the traditional forms of leadership that was practiced in China and approaching the topic from a historical perspective. “Traditional China at Its Height under the Ch’ing” explains the origin and growth of Manchus. The text “A Multitude of Lords” focuses on the concentrations of powers. The Qing rulers held the majority of the authorities to neutralize the challenge from multiple lords who sought to end the Aisin Gioro house. The text from the textbook “The High Qing: Triumph and Sources of Decline”, look at the factors that put Qing in power and sustained its reign; it also looks at the factors that led to the fall of its rule. All three authors give information on Qing reigns. They all elaborate on the factors that facilitated and sustained Manchu rule. And also they all agree on the fact that economic and territorial supremacy was the pillar of the Government. What’s more, the three texts all focus on the form of leadership that was adopted by Manchu leadership. This emphasis looks at the execution of administrative and judicial affairs. However, differences arise in their views on the causes of the decline. While “Traditional China at Its Height under the Ch’ing” site external challenges as the cause, “A Multitude of Lords” argues it’s the challenges by other lords. And the textbook, on the other hand, suggests corruption and tax evasion is the reason.
According to (Fairbank, Reischauer, and Craig), the rise of the Qing dynasty was in the 17th century lasting to the 20th century. Due to the profoundness of Chinese cultures and beliefs, the Manchu chose to innovate rather than overhaul the Chinese systems. “So well established was the Chinese tradition that a thoroughgoing change of institutions and values could not easily be imagined” (Fairbank, Reischauer and Craig, 211). The dynasty managed to standby avoiding conflicts with neighbor communities. The development of an all-inclusive defense department gave the Manchus a military force. They replaced decisions making bodies with the monarchy. Also “their success depended upon organizing state power in a Chinese fashion and Chinese collaborators” (Fairbank, Reischauer and Craig, 215). The formation of the military unit and administrative units helped the Manchus expand their territories. Moreover, due to their numerical minority, the Manchu was faced with the challenge of maintaining the power. However, they managed to stay in power by the accumulation of wealth. “One method to maintain the ruling family’s power was to build up its material resources such funds supported not only the palace but also the imperial clan, which governed through a special office and organized in 12 principal ranks from princes on down” (Fairbank, Reischauer and Craig, 222). They also developed other provisions that ensured they remained a caliber higher than the Chinese.
For , the Qing rule is in the sight of the leadership practices adopted. “A central principle in the Qing imagining of empire was the idea that the world was made up of a host of lords over whom Manchu emperors wanted to position themselves as overlords” (Hevia, 30). “In order to maintain their paramount position over this diverse polity, Qing rulers formulated policies designed to guarantee that no combination of forces came together to challenge the supremacy of the Aisin Gioro house and its claim to Paramount overlordship in east and inner Asia” (Hevia, 31). The methods applied included; subduing of opposition while building collaborations with supporters, pacification and maintain control over the diverse Chinese populace and setting up their empire in defensive positions. The Qing lords managed to incorporate powers of other lords in their powers. They perceived these other lords as a potential threat to their rule. The development of institutional structures that safeguarded their position addressed challenges like being a minority. ”First while they retained the core of the Ming governmental structure, they staffed the highest-level offices with equal numbers of Manchu and Chinese officials” (Hevia, 33). The court that was under the emperor controlled local and external trade. This power also gave the Manchu an advantage in their territorial expansion as well as the sustenance of the empire.
Look at the position of the Qing as a facilitator for the economic flourishing of China in the 18th century. “The remarkable efficiency of Chinese farm families – using field residue for fuel, for example, profitability utilizing the labor of women and children and not setting aside productive farmland for pasturage” (Lipman, Edson and Molony, 104). Institutions created as well as an intellectual basis founded the Manchu rule. Only three emperors from the Aisin Gioro clan held power. “In the 18th century, Qing state tried to control social morality and the effects of commerce with conservative Confucian government regulations” (Lipman, Edson and Molony, 113).”State management of society and the economy declined further after the 1770s under the corrupting influence of emperor’s favorite, a Manchu named Hesen.” (Lipman, Edson and Molony, 115). There was the immense development of scholars and ideologists in the 18th century. This development combined with the failed state institutions are the primary causes of the decline of the Manchu rule.
Fairbank, John King, Edwin O Reischauer and Albert M Craig. "Traditional China at Its Height Under the Ch’ing" in East Asia: Tradition and Transformation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973. Print.
Hevia, James. “A Multitude of Lords: The Qing Empire, Manchu Rulership, and Interdomainal Relations” in Cherishing Men From Afar: Qing Guest Ritual and the MacCartney Embassy of 1793. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. Print.
Lipman, Jonathan Neaman, Barbara Molony and Michael Robinson Edson. Modern East Asia: an integrated history. Boston: Pearson, 2012. Print.