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Protest with Chinese CharacteristicsDemonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty$
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Ho-fung Hung

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231152037

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231152037.001.0001

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Market Expansion, State Centralization, and Neo-Confucianism in Qing China

Market Expansion, State Centralization, and Neo-Confucianism in Qing China

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Market Expansion, State Centralization, and Neo-Confucianism in Qing China
Source:
Protest with Chinese Characteristics
Author(s):

Ho-Fung Hung

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231152037.003.0002

This chapter outlines the trajectory of the rise and decline of centralized state power and commercial prosperity in the mid-Qing period. It delineates the conservative strain of Confucianism reinstated by the Qing state and how this orthodoxy conceptualized the empire's political hierarchy as a familial one grounded on the principle of filiality from below and paternalist benevolence from above. This orthodoxy not only constrained the empire's subjects but also subjected the emperor to the same rigid moral standard. The chapter shows how the moral legitimacy of mid-Qing emperors changed in a U-shaped trajectory under this self-imposed rigid standard. By taking the rhythms of political, economic, and cultural changes together, the mid-Qing period is divided into three subperiods: c. 1740–1759, when both centralized state power and commercial prosperity were at their peaks and the emperor's moral legitimacy was high; c. 1760–1799, when centralized state power unraveled, commercial prosperity continued, and the emperor's moral legitimacy was low; and c. 1800–1839, when both centralized state power and the market economy were in crisis but the emperor's moral legitimacy revived.

Keywords:   centralized state power, commercial prosperity, Qing dynasty, Qing emperors, moral legitimacy, market economy

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