Athens and Han Empire

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East Meets West By Miguel Vela Period 1 Two major civilizations, Classical Athens in the West and Han China in the East, had many differences but how great were they? Han China and Classical Athens difference was very great not just because of their locations but also at politics, culture and society. Analyzing each civilizations government, cultural aspects and society can help prove why their differences were so great. Han China and Classical Athens governments were extremely different. Han Chinas government was strictly centralized, with an emperor as their supreme and divine ruler; the Son of Heaven. People believed that Heaven chose the person that is ready for being its ruler on Earth. Many people questioned how Heaven does this. In a dialogue between Mencius, a student of Confucius, and Wan Chang, Menciuss student, Chang asks Mencius a few questions of Heaven choosing its next Son. Mencius answer was that Heaven does not speak but reveals itself by acts and deeds; Heaven sees with the eyes of its people and hears with the ears of its people.(Doc. 6) Heaven selects the emperor; the sole ruler of the empire but he needed people to help aid him rule. Therefore, he appointed governors to each district of the empire and then, in turn, they placed officials at smaller areas. During the Han Dynasty, the government decided to build and expand the bureaucracy. The bureaucrats would have to go through an early form of a civil service exam in order to earn a lawmaking position at stages of government, such as local, regional, and federal. However, Stearns describes the Han Empire as the largest political system in the classical world. Stearns’s bias can be seen here and must be considered. (Doc. 7)However, Classical Athens’s government is a democracy, not entirely a modern democracy like the United States, but was nonetheless

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