The Ch’in Empire

An overview of the history of the Ch’in Empire.

This paper looks at one of the earliest empires in the Chinese Classical Civilization, the Ch’in, often referred to as the Qin. It explores how, although the dynasty did not last long, ranging from the years 221 B.C. to 207 B.C., during this time, many changes occurred, including the use of legalism to the start of the Great Wall. In particular, it shows how the first empire was not a long and successful one, but proved to be a great stepping-stone for the history of China and its progression into the modern world.
The quick rise to power was due to the Ch’in’s ability to rapidly adjust to the Legalist philosophy. This was initiated under Lord Shang. Realizing that the growth of the Ch’in’s power solely rested upon a more efficient and centralized bureaucratic structure, they had to remove themselves from feudalism. Lord Shang created a new aristocracy based on military merit. To support his military, he instituted a draft at the age of fifteen. In turn what this did was replace the chariot and cavalry warfare, with masses of peasant infantry armed with swords and crossbows.