Reading Assignment: Introduction, The Qin Revolution, The Laws of Qin
The reading on the Qin Revolution is more comprehensive than most, and I won't repeat its basic elements here. The basic outline of that major reading looks like this:
Guest-Minister tradition (Shang Yang)
The 18 ranks
"Legalist" structures -- curtailment of feudalism
non-hereditary feudalism (18 ranks)
Much of the bad press that the Qin Dynasty receives comes from accounts of its "Draconian" law codes and their brutal application. Only in recent years has archaeology let us recover some of the actual codes, together with guidelines for their practical administration. We can now judge for ourselves the nature of Qin law, and your final reading, a translation of selected Qin laws and principles for their implementation, will allow us to do just that - read them with the Study Questions located at the end of the reading in mind, and we'll discuss them towards the end of our class hour.