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The Everlasting EmpireThe Political Culture of Ancient China and Its Imperial Legacy$
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Yuri Pines

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134956

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134956.001.0001

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The People

The People

Chapter:
(p.134) Chapter 5 The People
Source:
The Everlasting Empire
Author(s):

Yuri Pines

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691134956.003.0006

This chapter explores the reasons for the recurrence of large-scale popular uprisings throughout imperial history. It considers how the idea of rebellion correlates with fundamental principles of Chinese political culture, such as monarchism and intellectual elitism. Moreover, the chapter looks at why the rebellions serve to support rather than disrupt the empire's longevity. These issues are then related to the broader issue of the political role of the “people,” here referring primarily, although not exclusively, to the lower strata, in the Chinese imperial enterprise. In answering these questions, this chapter focuses on ideological and social factors that both legitimated rebellions and also enabled their accommodation within the imperial enterprise.

Keywords:   popular uprisings, rebellion, large-scale uprisings, imperial history, Chinese political culture, monarchism, commoners, intellectual elitism

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