In beginning, only officials working in Zhengshitan were governors of three provinces, that is, Zhongshuling, Shizhong, and Shangshu Zopushe. Later, emperor sent some of his representatives to participate in it, that is, Shen Zhizhengshi, Tong Zhongshu of third rank, etc. They worked with governors of three provinces, and their status was equal, and they were also considered prime ministers. . As emperor continued to send representatives to Zhengshitang, there were more and more people in Zhengshitang, meaning more and more prime ministers. Generally speaking, Tang Dynasty had over a dozen prime ministers at any one time, and in 710 there were as many as 27.
Thus, Zhengshitang's organization became more and more complex, and division of powers became more and more detailed, so imperial power was naturally more assured. In 723, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty changed name of Zhengshitang to Zhongshumenxia and established five offices for officials, cardinals, soldiers, households, and criminal rites as his specific administrative institutions. In fact, this is transfer of six ministries under jurisdiction of Shangshu Province to Zhengshitang, and executive power of Shangshu Province ceased to exist only nominally. The formation of Zhongshumengxia also marked beginning of transition from a system of three provinces and six ministries to a system of two governments and three departments.
Famous Prime Ministers of Tang Dynasty: Song Jing and Yao Chong
The first prime ministers of Tang Dynasty were governors of three provinces. After formation of Zhengshitang, number of prime ministers increased and their official titles were also very complex. as many as 40 titles. During Tang Suzong period, prime minister's name was assigned to political affairs of Pingzhang, and this policy continued until Song and Yuan dynasties until Zhu Yuanzhang abolished prime minister.Third, reform of official system of Song Dynasty.
At beginning of Song Dynasty, system of late Tang Dynasty was inherited. The highest administrative body was Zhongshu Mengxia, and its prime minister was Pingzhang Zhengshi. Since late Tang Dynasty, due to separatist regime and financial crisis, status of military and financial institutions has improved unprecedentedly, which had an important impact on Song Dynasty.
In terms of military affairs, Tang Xuanzong founded ten cities on frontier to gather bulk of country's elite troops. After start of Anshi Rebellion, in order to limit Jiedushi's military power, Tang Xuanzong used eunuchs as overseers to command and mobilize army. During Tang Dynasty, secret messengers were created, also served by eunuchs, and eunuchs began to control part of military power. At end of Tang Dynasty, military power in his hands was used to control government, and secret envoy was also figure who controlled military power of entire country. Under Five Dynasties, Privy Council was established and became a formal military institution. Under Song Dynasty, Five Dynasties system was inherited and Privy Council was highest military institution in country.
During late Tang Dynasty, economy of north was destroyed and tax revenues were insufficient. Thus, Tang Dynasty sent transhipment ambassadors to manage finances in Jiangnan area and transport local food and money to central government; at same time, they promoted salt and iron monopoly to increase tax revenue, and officials who managed finances were salt and iron envoys. Due to heavy dependence on public finances, transfer of ambassadors, salt and iron make power continue to grow. Subsequently, Ministry of Accounts, Salt and Iron Transportation Envoy, and Financial Expenses Duzhi were simply merged into one organization and called Three Departments. The Translation Messenger is local organization of third department.
Thus, institutions of early Northern Song Dynasty were divided into Zhongshu Mengxia, Privy Council, and Three Divisions, collectively known as "Two Mansions and Three Divisions." After formation of system of two governments and three divisions, Zhongshumen's military power and financial power were abolished, and separation of powers was again implemented. In addition, Northern Song Dynasty also appointed Shenzhi Zhengshi as Deputy Prime Minister in addition to Pingzhang Zhengshi to share administrative powers of Prime Minister. Separation of powers is serious in other institutions as well, for example, third agency sometimes abolishes authorized third agency so that Yante, MD and Duzhi check each other; Compared with system of three provinces and six ministries, division of powers between two governments and three divisions is more detailed.
However, strong decentralization further reduces administrative efficiency. At same time, a complex organization and too many officials, which imposed a serious financial burden on country. During reign of Song Shenzong, streamlining army and streamlining administration became main reform policy, and important content of streamlining army and streamlining administration was elimination of officials and reduction of institutions. During Yuanfeng period, Song Shenzong restored real authority of six departments in three provinces, for example by merging three departments into Ministry of Households, depriving Privy Council of military power. Thus, system of three provinces and six ministries was revived again, and this influenced Ming and Qing dynasties.
During Southern Song Dynasty, reforms continued on basis of Yuanfeng's restructuring. In order to further enhance administrative efficiency, Southern Song dynasty once again allowed three provinces to work together. In 1130, prime minister became at same time secret envoy, and by 1205 "the prime minister and envoy had become permanent", so prime minister simultaneously controlled administration, finance, and military power. The optimization of troops and administration in Southern Song Dynasty reduced number of institutions by more than half, greatly reducing state's financial burden and improving administrative efficiency. However, shortcomings are also obvious: powerful officials began to appear in Southern Song Dynasty that did not exist in Northern Song Dynasty, such as Jia Sidao.
During Tang and Song dynasties, central system continued to change, they fluctuated between centralization and decentralization, and finally experienced a great reincarnation. However, organizational changes in Tang and Song dynasties had a huge impact on subsequent generations. Although Three Provinces system was eventually abolished under Ming Dynasty, Six Departments eventually continued under Qing Dynasty and became a distinct administrative organization. In ancient China, centralization of power in hands of emperor was main historical trend, but issue of administrative efficiency was a problem. For example, Ming Dynasty raised centralization of monarchy to new heights, but administrative efficiency hit rock bottom. How can we improve efficiency in power sharing? The only solution is for emperor to be diligent in governing, isn't that what Qing Dynasty did?