I 18 October 1787 To the Citizens of the State of New-York
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China's “Four Great Inventions”, , , the and the , are often trumpeted as the hallmarks of its civilisation. But these fruits of Chinese ingenuity are in many ways peripheral to the historical development of Chinese civilisation, and to Chinese society today. Gunpowder may have been discovered in China; but it was chiefly used for fireworks; the value of the compass was squandered by the insularity of the government and its failure to capitalise on 's explorations. Paper and the printing press were remarkable developments, but were really just perfections of technology already in use in various parts of the world from a very early age; papyrus or vellum,or the scriptoria of monasteries.
Chinese Imperial Examination System
The most truly unique aspect of Chinese culture - and the one with the most powerful legacy - is the examination system with which the Son of Heaven'sempire was staffed with civil servants over the best part of two millennia. The Imperial examinations represented a remarkable attempt to create an aristocracy of learning, which in itself represent a remarkable advance over the warrior and hereditary aristocracies that dominated in the rest of the world. The Chinese examination system, archaic, laborious and daunting as it may have been, was nevertheless, was a glorious attempt at intellectual meritocracy.
Southern Comfort | by James M. McPherson | The New …
Aristocracy-by-examination had far-reaching consequences. A high degree of national stability was ensured despite changes of emperor and dynasty because the civil service, fuelled by the exam system, could continue independently of the imperial regime. Even China's foreign conquerors, the Mongols and the Manchu, realised the benefits of the examination system. Despite denigrating Han Chinese scholars as the “Stinking Ninth” in their social ranking, the Mongols of the retained the system. The Manchu tribesmen who captured Beijing in 1644 to found the restored the civil service examinations only two years later, and although they excluded Han Chinese from the highest echelons of the Civil Service, they clearly recognised the adhesive value of the exams in binding the Han intelligentsia to the Qing regime.
Finnegans Wake: What It' s All About - METAPORTAL
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