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The Constitution of Ancient China

Su Li, Zhang Yongle, and Daniel A. Bell


How was the vast ancient Chinese empire brought together and effectively ruled? What are the historical origins of the resilience of contemporary China's political system? This book examines the ways in which a series of fundamental institutions, rather than a supreme legal code upholding the laws of the land, evolved and coalesced into an effective constitution. Arguing that a constitution is an institutional response to a set of issues particular to a specific society, the book demonstrates how China unified a vast territory, diverse cultures, and elites from different backgrounds into a who ... More

Keywords: constitution, Chinese empire, ancient China, Great Wall, Chinese characters, uniform weights, effective constitution

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780691171593
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691171593.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Su Li, author
Peking University Law School

Zhang Yongle, editor

Daniel A. Bell, editor