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The Manchu and the Mongol Yuan Governments Essay

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The Manchu and the Mongol Yuan Governments

            The Chinese people resented the existence of the Manchu Dynasty (1644-1912), as the latter was of Mongolian origin. Thus, the Manchu Dynasty kept itself in power by retaining most Han Chinese cultural traditions. For one, it continued to observe Confucian court practices that were associated with Chinese dynastic rule. The official state philosophy was still obedience to the ruler by the ruled (ThinkQuest Team 16325, n. pag.).

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            In addition, the Manchu Dynasty kept the civil service system. The latter held special examinations which determined who will be the most qualified to assume government posts. However, the Manchu Dynasty still took steps to avert the total loss of their own culture. The Han Chinese were prohibited from settling into Manchu home land or assuming high offices, while the Manchus were not supposed to venture into manual labor or trade. Furthermore, intermarriages were strictly banned (ThinkQuest Team 16325, n. pag.).

            The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) was also of Mongolian origin. But unlike the Manchu Dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty made no attempts to assimilate itself into Han Chinese culture. Under the Yuan Dynasty, government positions were open only to Mongols and other foreigners. Aside from assuming government positions, the Han Chinese were likewise prohibited from learning other languages and engaging in external trade (MNSU.edu, n. pag.).

            As a form of rebellion, the Chinese nobility (who happened to be better educated than the Mongol invaders) founded their own private academies instead of teaching in government schools. They also pursued art and literature, writing operas under pseudonyms (it was not considered acceptable for scholars to venture into playwriting). Due to differences in language, the Mongols were unable to censor Chinese drama and literature. Some of the most famous operas that were written during the Yuan dynasty were The Story of the Orphan of Chao, The Story of Lute, Western Chamber and The Romance (MNSU.edu, n. pag.).

Works Cited

ThinkQuest Team 16325. “China: Manchu/Qing Dynasty.” 31 August 1998. ThinkQuest. 15

            December 2008 <http://library.thinkquest.org/16325/c-man.html>.

“Yuan Dynasty.” n.d. MNSU.edu. 15 December 2008

            <http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/china/later_imperial_china/yuan.html>.