China’s Dynastic Cycle

There was a pattern called the dynastic cycle for the rise and fall of all the dynasties that ruled China.

When a new family overthrew the old dynasty and took the "Mandate of Heaven," this was the top of the circle. As the dynasty ruled for the first half of the circle, they were good and gave land to the peasants, reducing taxes and corruption. This lasted through the first half of the dynasty (or circle).

Starting at the bottom half of the circle, the Emperor would become disconnected from the peasants and people of China. Corruption would start in the outer provinces. There would be minor uprisings among the peasants. The revolts were put down, and land was taken away from the peasants. Taxes would rise and become a burden on the people.

Towards the end of the dynasty, there would be a major natural disaster or series of disasters, which the emperor would not or could not address. The people were left on their own. At this time, one of the noble or rich families would start a major revolution, which would be supported by the people of China, and soon the old dynasty would be overthrown, bringing history back to the top of the circle.

Then the circle would start again with a new dynasty.

This was the pattern of dynastic rule in China. It was repeated over and over throughout China’s history.

Source: China’s Dynastic Cycle
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