Qin Shi Huang was a significant Emperor of ancient China (Leffman et al 288). As a descendant of the Qin Dynasty, Qin ruled China from 246 B.C. to 210 B.C. Referred also as also known as Shi Huangdi; he led in the unification of China. Indeed, Qin Shi Huangdi had many attributes that people admired and hated in equal measure (Pancella 200). Leaders are remembered for the good or evil they commit during their rule, and Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi was no exception. Emperor Huangdi played a significant role in the social-economic transformation of his country during his era. He brought transformation in the transport sector s well as in trade and commerce. In addition, he brought the states of China together, achieving something that had been elusive to his predecessor. However, his leadership style was evil and autocratic. He used public money to build unnecessary structures including his ridiculous tomb. In addition, he executed opponents and ruled with terror. Indeed, he became a character loved and hated in equal measure.
In his 35 years, in the helms of power, Shi Huangdi was responsible for erecting outstanding and great construction projects (Pancella 43). Besides the magnificent building projects, Shi Huangdi created a room for the growth of culture as well as intellectual capacity in the country. However, he was also responsible for the much destruction that took place during his era (Asiapac Editorial 451). As a great ruler in his time, Emperor Shi Huangdi elicits different memories to different people. Indeed, there is no leader who has no ups and down in his or her rule. Indeed, people will continue to remember him because of his brilliant projects or the destruction he brought about in China is a matter of individual preference or choice (Leffman et al 277). However, one thing is undisputable; Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi was an influential figure who left an indelible mark in the Chinese history and the history of the world at large (Asiapac Editorial 541).
Legend has it that a wealthy business personality by the name Lu Buwei befriended one of the princes of the Qin State. This happened at the sunset of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-236 B.C). The wife of the merchant, Zhao Ji, had become pregnant. Lu Buwei organized a meeting so that the prince could meet and fall in love with her (Leffman et al 218). Zhao Ji became the princes’ concubine. She gave birth to a baby, whom they named Ying Zheng (Asiapac Editorial 201). The prince thought the child was his own. It is worthy to note here that concubines had a significant part in the lives of men in ancient China. Indeed, Emperors and warlord had the privilege of having several concubines (Asiapac Editorial 208). Wives found it in order to find fresh concubines for their husbands (Leffman et al 291). The birth of the young child in Hanan was a blessing for the couple because he became the king of the Qin state in 246 B.C. Ying Zheng ruled under the name Qin Shi Huangdi, and did what most rulers had thought was an uphill task. This was after the death of his ‘father.’ Indeed, the rule of Qin Shi Huangdi was significant in that he was the first ruler to bring the many states of China together (Pancella 112).
Qin Shi Huangdi took the reigns of power at the age of 13 (Leffman et al 288). The prime minster, Lu Buwei, who was his real father, acted on his behalf for a period of 8 years. During this time, there several states fighting tor control the land of China (Leffman et al 241). As a result, this period was not easy for any ruler since the leaders of China’s states then had declared themselves kings. This happened after the demise of the Zhou Dynasty. It is in this unstable situation that war erupted among the seven states. This was not the only problem that faced Lu Buwei; he feared that the young king would become aware of his real father (Pancella 301).
In another development, Lu Buwei plotted to dispose the new king because he was afraid that Qin Shi Huangdi would kill him (Asiapac Editorial 665). The plot was hatched in 240 B.C. Lao got an army, and with the help of a nearby king, he made attempts to gain control of the state since Qin Shi Huangdi had travelled outside his area of jurisdiction (Pancella 287). However, the young king got wind of the impending coup and cracked the rebellion hard. Lao was killed in a grisly manner together with his family. However, his co-plotter, mother Zhao Ji spent the rest of her life under house. The young king made immense efforts to consolidate power after the failed coup. Although Lu Buwei was banished after the coup failed, he did not lose all authority in Qin. However, he was constantly afraid that the young ruler would turn on him and revenge. Because of this constant fear, Lu Buwei later committed suicide by drinking poison wine in 235 B.C (Pancella 33). After the demise of Lu Buwei, Qin Shi Huangdi assumed full responsibilities of running the state (Asiapac Editorial 109).
Qin Shi Huangdi loved to work with wise and innovative men (Leffman et al et al1176). With the help of these men, he instituted several reforms that saw agriculture and the military expand within a short span (Pancella 99). Qin Shi Huangdi became more vigilant and rose with power over the warring states using the newly founded military prowess. His astuteness led him to quell internal rebellion (Leffman et al 77). In addition, he waged war externally, brining the six states under his fold. This took him one decade to bring about the unification of China and put to end the chaos brought by his rivals (Asiapac Editorial 142).
After the defeat of the warring states, Qin Shi Huangdi, realized a great achievement in his rule, that of unifying northern China. After this event, the Emperor had the confidence to marshal his troop to even greater exploits (Pancella 146). His army continued to expand the empires boundaries on the south. This happened throughout the life of Qin Shi Huangdi. As the Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi restructured bureaucratic systems by doing away with the established nobility arrangements. In their place, the Emperor appointed official to take their place. In his process of constructing the country, Qin Shi Huangdi invested heavily in the development of infrastructure, including the development of elaborate road networks to boost trade among the states (Pancella 188). He made the capital Xianyang as centre of commerce. Another significant input in the business arena was the standardization of weights and measures. In addition, he simplified the written Chinese script and created new copper coins to ease business transactions (Asiapac Editorial 132).
Despite the great power of the new king and his empire, the unified country faced numerous challenges, especially from the northern frontier (Leffman et al et al 286). The northerners, especially the nomadic Xiongnu, prided themselves in carrying out vicious raids on the southern states. This fact worried the young Emperor (Asiapac Editorial 137). In order to keep the nomadic Xiongnu at bay, the Emperor ordered his men to contract a defence war (Pancella 72). This wall was build by slaves as well as those who committed criminal activities. The construction work stared in 220 B.C. and ended in 206 B.C. The building was not an easy task, as thousand of the worker lost their lives while performing the task. This fortification later became a part of the Great Wall of China.
Qin Shi Huangdi made an effort to burn all the literature in the empire in an effort to silence criticism. In addition, he went after scholars who scoffed at his rule together with their families. These were either killed or jailed for life. For instance, in his second year, he ordered the arrest of over 460 Confucian scholars (Pancella 144). The scholars were later buried alive in Xianyang city.
To strengthen his rule and show he was fully in charge, Qin Shi Huangdi practiced autocratic rule (Leffman et al et al 1195). Harsh laws were formulated to realize his goal. Heavy punishment was meted on anyone who broke the law of what was considered the norm at that time. In addition, Qin Shi Huangdi levied heavy taxes on his people, causing severe suffering on the citizens.
Qin Shi Huangdi rule was characterized by terror as he spent colossal amounts of money to erect magnificent buildings and his own tomb (Leffman et al 96). Some of the structure he built using public money had no value on the economy. Instead, they heaped a bid burden on the task payers and the country got into a deep financial debt burden. This led to chagrin on the part of the people who fuelled dissent leading to the demise of the Qin Dynasty.
Every dictator has his own hallucinations and fantasies, and Qin Shi Huangdi was no exception. It is in the character of autocrats to think they can rule forever (Asiapac Editorial 222). Probably this is the reason dictators fulfil their thirst for power and wealth using cruel methods (Leffman et al et al 1184). For Qin Shi Huangdi, he believed that medicine was the only solution to live eternally (Leffman et al1205). Qin Shi Huangdi consulted his doctors, who then prescribed a medication that contained a small dose of mercury. The medicine poisoned Qin Shi Huangdi, leading to his death (Leffman et al 288).
His fantasies went beyond this world. Qin Shi Huangdi believed he could also conquer heaven just as he had conquered the earth or states during his reign. The king had about 8000 clay soldiers placed in his tomb, as he believed they would help him fight battles in the after world. The army also included horses with chariots a well as well as weapons. Indeed, this was a case of misplaced priorities and a waste of resources (Pancella 176).
In summary, Qin Shi Huangdi, was an influential figure in Chinese history. Although his reign was not vey long, he laid down the foundation of a united nation. In addition, he had a big influence on culture and the civilization of China. It is no wonder that he is referred as “An Emperor of Myriads of Ages.” On the other hand, Qin Shi Huangdi also left behind a legacy of discontent among the citizens. He was a reformer and a tyrant at the same time. Qin Shi Huangdi practiced autocracy and imposed harsh penalties on his people. He used bizarre methods to quell any rebellion, real or imagined. His monument, the Qin Mausoleum, is a creation littered with blood and tears. Despite this dent in his illustrious career, many people admire the Emperor.