What did you think when you mentioned Sima Guang? Thinking of his childhood "crushing tanks to save his friends", thinking of his Zi Zhi Tong Jian collection, thinking of his conscientious work for emperor in his life, and finally he was awarded posthumous title of "Wen". Zheng" after his death and was worthy of Temple of Song Zhezong. Cong worshiped at a Confucian temple known as "Sima Tzu's first Confucian"; Cong worshiped emperor's temple. Sima Guang's life can be considered ideal: he enjoyed fame and fortune all his life, defeated a large number of political opponents in political arena, and finally gained a reputation as a loyal minister. However, Sima Guang's overall victory was a complete defeat for Northern Song dynasty.The first, hidden villain
The story of how Sima Guang broke vat is well known in China. However, there is another story about Sima Guang that few people know about. During reign of Emperor Shenzong of Song Dynasty, a folk girl named Ayun lived in Dengzhou, both of her parents died, and she was left alone. Later, Ayun's uncle forcibly betrothed Ayun to Wei Dabao, an old bachelor and an ugly village man, despite fact that Ayun's mother was not yet fully mourned. Ayun was not happy, so he took a knife and tried to kill Wei Dabao, but to no avail, Wei Dabao only hurt his finger. Wei Dabao then informed official.
At that time, Sima Guang believed that Ayong had violated Three Basic Principles and Five Permanent Principles and should be sentenced to death. However, Wang Anshi believed that Ayong's crime was not fatal and should be sentenced to a fixed term in prison. Song Shenzong also believed that network should be lenient and issued an edict to commute sentence to fixed-term imprisonment. Shortly thereafter, Northern Song Dynasty issued an amnesty to whole world, and Ayun was released and returned home to marry and have a child, and lived a happy life. However, who would have thought that Sima Guang still remembers this case. In 1085, Song Shenzong died, Zhezong ascended throne, and Sima Guang became prime minister. He reopened case 17 years ago and sentenced Ayun to death. Subsequently, Ayun was publicly beheaded at a vegetable market.
As a prime minister of a generation, why did Sima Guang have trouble with a commoner girl? In fact, he didn't have a problem with Minnw, he had a problem with Wang Anshi. In political arena of Northern Song Dynasty, if it was approved by Wang Anshi, whether it was right or wrong, Sima Guang would oppose it. This is Sima Guang's stubborn attitude. People say that Wang Anshi is a stubborn husband, but Wang Anshi was always right about things and wrong people, and Sima Guang was always right about people and wrong things. Wang Anshi is an open gentleman who is not afraid to offend others, while Sima Guang is a villain who is always complaining to emperor and suggesting bitter tricks.Second, completely oppose Wang Anshi's reform.
Sima Guang's lifelong adversary was Wang Anshi. The reason why Sima Guang opposed Wang Anshi's reform was because this reform affected interests of those with vested interests, and Sima Guang was only a representative of this vested interest group. In middle of Northern Song Dynasty, "Three Redundant Situations" in Song Dynasty were very serious, and poverty and weakness infiltrated marrow. The frequent setbacks in war against Xixia and constant loss of country also spurred Northern Song dynasty to reform. First of all, Fan Zhongyan and others initiated Qingli New Deal, but it collapsed due to lack of strong background support. Then there was Wang Anshi's reform supported by Song Shenzong.
The main goal of Wang Anshi's reform is to increase country's budget revenues, strengthen country's military power, suppress wealthy businessmen and landowners, and mitigate social conflicts. Major policies include Green Crops Law, Hiring Law, Fantian Middle Tax Law, Farmland Water Resources Protection Law, Market Change Law, Average Loss Law, Baojia Law, Disarmament Law, and Military Law. From a microscopic point of view, Wang Anshi's reform did not properly consider some areas, which harmed interests of people. However, we must look at problem in a general perspective. We cannot deny whole reform movement because of its shortcomings. Any reform in history will have negative consequences.
During Wang Anshi's reform, although some opponents suffered, they were still able to live in a noble place. For example, Wen Yanbo, Fan Zhen, Sima Guang, Fan Chongren, Fu Bi, and others lived in Luoyang and held banquets such as Senior Yinghui, Zhenshuhui, and Tongjiahui. The momentum was so great that Luoyang attracted attention. But after Sima Guang came to power, everything was different: not only did he cancel entire content of Wang Anshi's reform, but those who supported Wang Anshi's reform, and even those who supported certain plans, tried in every possible way to expel new party. and force him to live in a dangerous place. For example, Su Shi initially opposed Wang Anshi's reform, but later saw benefits of reform and supported it. Later, Sima Guang reversed all reforms and Su Shi opposed them, causing Sima Guang to send him to most remote area of Lingnan in Northern Song Dynasty.
Yi Sima Guang has been forming cliques all time, forming a powerful force inside and outside court. Beginning with Sima Guang, Northern Song dynasty fell into a quagmire of party strife until advent of Jingkang Change. The famous traitor Cai Jing was single-handedly promoted by Sima Guang.
In addition, Sima Guang himself can only counteract, but he cannot put forward any really constructive proposals to country. For example, Wang Anshi proposed Young Harvest Law, Cultivation Service Law, Fantian Equal Tax Law, Market Exchange Law, and Equal Loss Law in order to increase country's fiscal revenues and at same time reduce oppression of poor at expense of rich businessmen. Sima Guang jumped out and said that country should not manage money, because wealth of world is fixed, and if there is more wealth in country, wealth of people will decrease. In fact, Sima Guang believed that private wealth should be wealth of big bureaucrats and big businessmen. Sima Guang also believed that the reduction of officials should be used to save costs, and then "excess officials and unnecessary expenses" could be managed.
After hearing what Sima Guang said, Song Shenzong felt that it made sense, so he appointed Sima Guang as head of reduction bureau and asked Sima Guang to fire officials and streamline organization. Unexpectedly, Sima Guang would offend other bureaucratic landowners if he served himself, so he simply refused to take post under pretext of compiling Zi Zhi Tong Jian. In same year, Yellow River broke through in north and overflowed its banks. Wang Anshi also proposed to manage money on basis of not increasing taxation of people, to increase state's finances, and also to manage Huang He, Sima Guang popped up and said that officials should be eliminated. In fact, Wang Anshi had already calculated that eliminating officials could save up to 3,000 taels, which was nothing more than a drop in bucket for Northern Song dynasty.
From speech of these two, it is clear that Wang Anshi is a man of action. He only thinks about country and people, so he offended many. And Sima Guang is very even-tempered, he blindly formed cliques, formed cliques for personal gain, attacked dissidents, and could not offer any constructive political measures. Therefore, Sima Guang is a politician, and everything is in his interests.Three, Bury Northern Song Dynasty
Although Sima Guang and others continued to sabotage him, Wang Anshi's reform continued to move forward. Here is an example of Fantian's average tax law. After destruction of "land leveling system" under Tang Dynasty, annexation of land in society became very serious. Under Northern Song Dynasty, "no land system, no merger suppression" measures were taken, leading to further concentration of land. However, these landlords concealed land in every possible way and shifted tax on poor who lost their land, which led to acute social conflicts.
The "Fangtian Average Tax Law" in Wang Anshi's reform is to re-measure land of entire country and restore tax standards. This trick will indeed offend many nobles, bureaucrats and landowners, including Sima Guang. Thanks to Wang Anshi's promotion, about half of country's land received an "average tax per square area of land", country's budget revenue increased, burden on farmers decreased, and number of Wang Anshi's political enemies increased.
As for military affairs, after reform of Wang Anshi, combat capability of army of Northern Song Dynasty increased. Wang Anshi also formulated some expansion policies for development of Xiangxi and management of Hehuang. During Shenzong period of Song, Wang Shao said in Ping Rong Ce that "Western Xia is desirable. If you want to take Xixia, you must first restore Hehuang, and Xia people will worry about enemy attacking." Wang Shao was subsequently reused and sent to northwestern front. With support of Wang Anshi, Wang Shao's tension in Hehuang area was very smooth, and he successfully restored five prefectures of Xi, He, Tao, Ming, Dan, and Qi and expanded border by more than 2,000 miles., forming Siege of Xixia. During Wang Anshi's political reform, Vietnam sent troops to invade Guangxi, and Wang Anshi ordered Forbidden Army to attack all way to Hanoi. This was a very rare victory in foreign wars of Northern Song Dynasty.
However, after Wang Anshi retired, everything changed. In 1081, there was a coup in Xixia, and Song Shenzong decided to take opportunity to eliminate Xixia. However, generals on front line had their own ulterior motives, which ultimately led to failure of attack. This battle failed, Song Shenzong suffered greatly and died soon after. After that, Song Zhezong came to power, and Sima Guang began to completely cancel Wang Anshi's reform. Wang Anshi was in Jinling at that time and was very disappointed when he learned that all his rules were cancelled, wept bitterly, eventually fell ill and died same year.
Then what about land returned to Wang Anshi? Sima Guang still objected and gave it directly to Xixia. In early days of Song Zhezong's rise to power, Sima Guang immediately wrote to emperor, arguing that Xixia's captured lands should not be taken, but Xixia should be returned so that northwestern frontier could be peaceful. This issue caused great controversy in court, and most of ministers opposed behavior of Sima Guang. Initially, Sima Guang wanted to give everything to Lanzhou and Xizhou to Xixia, but under pressure from both inside and outside court, Sima Guang gave in and gave Xixia four villages of Mizhi, Futu, Jialu, and Anjiang. Sima Guang became number one traitor in Northern Song Dynasty.
Immediately after Sima Guang canceled all of Wang Anshi's policies and sent out returned lands, he himself died. It seems to be fate. Sima Guang Xixia's gift of land did not bring peace to Northern Song dynasty. On contrary, Xixia and Liao kingdom saw Northern Song dynasty's weakness and both attempted to start a large-scale war to threaten Northern Song dynasty. give up more land. At end of Northern Song dynasty, large numbers of troops were limited in northwest, resulting in relatively empty defenses in Northern China, which was also an important factor in decline of Northern Song dynasty. Sima Guang died in 1086 and Northern Song dynasty perished in 1127. Although there was a difference of 40 years between them, Sima Guang was main culprit in decline of the Northern Song Dynasty.