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How did Han Dynasty unify Central Plains? The abolition of princes of Western Han Dynasty is equivalent to reunification of Warring States period.

From Warring States period to Western Han Dynasty, struggle between county system and enfeoffment system lasted for hundreds of years. During Qin Dynasty, many Confucians still believed that enfeoffment system was superior to system of prefectures and districts, which led to "book burning" incident. It can be seen that struggle between enfeoffment system and county system is fierce. During Western Han Dynasty, a system of coexistence of prefectures and states was introduced, and a system of enfeoffment repeatedly appeared. The trend of history is always moving forward. The county system finally defeated enfeoffment system in middle of Western Han Dynasty, but this process was extremely difficult.

One, from being infatuated with Xiang Yu to being infatuated with Liu Bang

In 209 B.C. In Qin Dynasty, rebellion of Chen Sheng Wu Guang broke out, and then nobles of six countries responded one after another, and countries of Warring States seemed to be reborn again. After fall of Qin Dynasty, Xiang Yu held another large-scale enfeoff, forming eighteen princes. Xiang Yu is descendant of an aristocrat in State of Chu, with a strong traditional mindset. He did not understand centralization of power in Qin Dynasty, so he decided to reverse history to restore Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods. He became a generation overlord, calling himself "Lord of Western Chu". After he entered Guanzhong, he carried out widespread destruction and lost support of population. He later returned to his hometown in civilian clothes and returned to Xuzhou to establish Western Kingdom of Chu.

Shortly after Xiang Yu was divided into feudal states, vassal states began wars of conquest, and Xiang Yu found it difficult to stop this situation. Therefore, Liu Bang took opportunity to send Han Xin to attack Sanqin, seized Guanzhong's lands, and began vying with Xiang Yu for hegemony. After four years of Chu–Han War, Liu Bang finally defeated Xiang Yu and established Han Dynasty in 202 BC. with its capital at Chang'an.

However, at beginning of Western Han Dynasty, lands of Bashu, Guanzhong and other 15 counties were directly controlled, and most of lands in Kanto were under control of various vassal states. To enlist support of vassal states, Liu Bang could only recognize status of kings and implement a parallel system of prefectures and states. The chief princes at that time were Han Xin, King of Chu, Yingbu, King of Huainan, Peng Yue, King of Liang, Wu Rui, King of Changsha, Zhang Er, King of Zhao, Zang Tu, King of Yan, and King Xin of Han. Among them, Han Xin was originally a general of Han Dynasty and a figure belonging to central core group. However, after he captured Qi, he became king of Qi and turned into a prince, which also paved way for his later reign. tragic fate.

After Western Han Dynasty's rule stabilized a bit, Liu Bang used various methods to eliminate these kings with different surnames. Yan Wang Zang Tu rebelled first, and Liu Bang led an army to suppress him. In 201 BC. story. After this incident, Korea also perished.

Soon, Empress Lu had Peng Yue executed in same way. Upon hearing that Han Xin and Peng Yue had been executed, Yingbu realized that his disaster was coming, so in 196 B.C. he plotted against him. At that time, Liu Bang was in a state of illness, but he was also sick and defeated, and finally suppressed Yingbo in his second year. After this battle, among seven princes with different surnames in early Western Han Dynasty, only king of Changsha remained, Changsha was in a remote area and could serve as a barrier against northward movement of Nanyue kingdom, so he resisted.

Han Mawangdui Tomb Exhibition Hall

In 195 B.C. Liu Bang returned home in triumph. Passing by his hometown of Pei County, he gathered his relatives and friends to drink merrily for more than ten days. During this period, Liu Bang thought about his turbulent political career and casually sang famous "Great Wind Song": "When wind rises, clouds fly. We will add sea and return to our hometown. And warriors will guard four directions!"Liu Bang conquered world, but he felt difficulty of defending country. He is looking for talents to protect country. So, who will become warrior who defends four directions?

Second, rise princes of Liu family

Liu Bang excluded queens with different surnames, thinking that only descendants of clan could shield royal family. Therefore, he decided to trust princes of Liu family on a large scale and killed white horse as an alliance, vowing that "not Liu family, but king, world will fight against him". Liu Bang had nine princes with same surname, namely, Liu Jia, King of Jing, Liu Jiao, King of Chu, Liu Fei, King of Qi, Liu Xi, King of Dai, Liu Bi, King of Wu, Liu Chang, King of Huainan, Ruyi, King of Zhao, Liu Hui, King of Liang, Liu Yu, King of Huainan, and Liu Yu, King of Dai, Wang Liuheng.

These princes occupied half of Han Dynasty. At that time, there were fifty-four counties in Western Han Dynasty, and princes occupied twenty-nine of them. Controlled fifteen counties. Some scholars estimate that number of households controlled by central government during Han Dynasty was 4.5 million, while number of households controlled by princes was 8.5 million. During period of Liu Bang, status of princes was not stable and did not pose a threat to central government.

During reign of Empress Lu, a large number of princes from Liu family were destroyed, only Liu Bi, King Wu, Liu Jiao, King of Chu, Liu Xiang, King of Qi, Liu Chang, King of Huainan and Wu Rui, King of Changsha, Prince with a different last name. After power of Empress Lu was eliminated, clan and ministers supported Emperor Han Wen. as enfeoffing Liu Sui as King Zhao and Liu Ze as King King Yang, Liu Piqiang were Kings of Hejian, Marquis Zhu Xu and Liu Zhang were Kings of Chengyang, Liu Xingju was King of Jibei, Liu Wu was King of Dai (later moved to be King of Liang) , and Liu Can was king of Taiyuan.

The uprisings of Liu Xingju and Liu Chang during reign of Emperor Wen proved that local princes threatened central government, so many astute people began to propose some measures to weaken princes, among whom Jia Yi was representative. Jia Yi put forward policy of "many build princes with little power", thinking that more princes are entrusted, less land each prince controls, so "princes do not dare to have different opinions, and they will come together and then return to emperor."

Emperor Han Wen accepted Jia Yi's opinion and began using special powers to weaken princes. In 164 BC King Liu Ze of Qi passed away and had no sons, so Emperor Hanwen divided Qi into seven parts: Jiaodong, Jiaoxi, Chengyang, Stechuan, Jinbei, Jinan, and Qi. In south, due to rebellion of King Huainan, kingdom of Huainan was divided into three parts: Hengshan, Lujiang and Huainan. After death of Wu Zhu, ruler of Changsha in south, he was expelled from country because he did not have a son. In addition, number of counties under jurisdiction of central government is also increasing. For example, Langya County in Shandong Peninsula and Hejian County in Zhao State were transferred to central government.

However, Emperor Wenwen's policy can only be used in special circumstances and cannot be promoted directly, so weakening of princes is also limited. As wings of vassal states were full, it became more difficult for Han Dynasty to weaken vassals.

Third, Rebellion of Seven Kingdoms and main solution to problem of princes

During reign of Emperor Jing of Han Dynasty, seeing growing threat from princes and kings, he began to seek to destroy vassals. At that time, Chao Cuo, official censor, put forward a strategy for slaughtering a vassal. He believed that “If you cut it now, it will be other way around, and if you don't cut it, it will be other way around. If it is cut, then reaction will be urgent, and disaster will be small; if it is not cut, it will drag on and disaster will be great."However, cutting strategy of vassals will directly offend princes, and princes will unite against central government. Among them, led by Wu and Chu, they formed Alliance of Seven Kingdoms. < /p>

Among Seven Kingdoms, Kingdom of Wu is most powerful. Wu Wang Liu Bi was named Wu Wang in 196 BC. After that, Liu Bang seemed to have some regrets and told Liu Bi, “Fifty years after Han Dynasty, there were unrest in southeast. How could it be evil? Be careful, don't rebel!" That is, to warn Liu Bi not to rebel. Liu Bi immediately nodded and said he wouldn't dare. Suddenly, Liu Bang's prediction came true.

After Liu Bi came to country, he used Wu's fish, salt, copper and iron to trade with whole country, earn money and make huge profits. During reign of Emperor Wenwen of Han Dynasty, Liu Bi's eldest son, King Wu, was killed by prince (later Emperor Jing of Han) in Chang'an, so he became dissatisfied with central government and began to "declare illness and not go to court." During reign of Emperor Jing of Han Dynasty, relations between central government and state of Wu became more and more tense, and Chao Cuo's policy of reducing feudal vassals was also directed directly against King Wu.

In 154 B.C. Liu Bi, King of Wu, saw that it was Wu's turn to exterminate vassals, so he secretly conspired against six states of Chu, Zhao, Jiaoxi, Jiao Tung, Zichuan, and Jinan. . In winter of that year, Emperor Jing of Han Dynasty ordered removal of Kuaiji and other counties in state of Wu. It was most prosperous place in state of Wu. as "Rise of Seven Kingdoms". However, army of the princes was just a mob, and they were quickly defeated.

Suppress chaos of Seven Kingdoms

After Seven Kingdoms Rebellion, Emperor Jing of Han Dynasty continued his strategy of reducing feudal vassals, transferred many counties of princes to direct jurisdiction of central government, and added 13 new princes, weakening old princes. Among them, rebel state of Wu was abolished, Guangling and Guzhang among them were declared king of Jiangdu, and Peijun and Donghai from state of Chu were also appointed to central government. In north, Yan State and Dai State were greatly weakened, Yan State had only one county in Guangyang, and Dai State had only one county in Taiyuan.

After Emperor Jing of Han Dynasty reduced vassals, problem of feudal vassals in Han Dynasty was basically eased. After decades of hard work, Western Han Dynasty finally corrected Liu Bang's mistakes and brought about internal integration. Precisely because Emperor Jing of Han basically solved problem of princes, he created conditions for Han Emperor Wu to counterattack Xiongnu and expand abroad. After Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty ascended throne, he implemented "Tweet Order" which was based on suppressing Seven Kingdoms Rebellion.

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