Change in Social, Political Structure, and Economic Life

Changein Social, Political Structure, and Economic Life

Changein Social, Political Structure, and Economic Life

Chinais among the countries that have a rich history that is characterizedby a rise and fall of great political leader as well as empires. Itis ranked as one of the largest civilizations and its history can betraced back to more than 5,000 years (Judge, &amp Langdon, 2015). Itexpanded from small tribes to the large country that can be seentoday. Different empires and individual leaders made theircontribution towards the Chinese civilization. Civilization wasachieved in terms of social, political, cultural and economicdevelopment. This paper will focus on three types of change(including political structure, economic, and social life) thatoccurred during the Sui, Tang, and Song Dynasties.

TheSui Dynasty

Thedynasty existed between 581 and 618, which indicates that it lastedfor 38 years. The major political change that was achieved during thedynasty was the unification of the entire nation. Emperor Yang Jianof Northern Zhou had monopolized the military as well as thepolitical power with the objective of suppressing separatists by theyear 581 (Xu, 2010). Yang Jiang replaced North Zhou with the name Suiin 581. By 589, Sui had defeated Chen, one of the Southern dynasties,and established a unified nation.

Theestablishment of six ministries and three departments as units ofgovernment was among the key factors that impacted the political lifeof the Chinese during the Sui Dynasty. The new system enhanced theroyal power, work division, and the process of selecting talent intogovernment offices. These changes in political life were confirmed bythe introduction of the Imperial Examination System that repealed thetraditional system known as Jiupin Zhongzheng that had about nineranks (Xu, 2010). The new system had three phases, including academicstudying, taking exams, and finding a government job. Therefore, theempire introduced a formal system of selecting and recruitingtalented people for the first time in the history of the region.

Sociallife was impacted significantly by the development of a 2.5 mileGrand Canal that facilitated effective communication as well asinteraction between the South and the North (Song, 2016). The canalwas centered on Luoyang and it functioned as the primary entry intothe National transportation system. The canal also created anopportunity for the people on both sides to engage in culturalexchanges.

Unificationof the nation created an environment for economic development. Theperiod was characterized by a significant increase in crop production(Xu, 2010). In addition, different industries (such as shipbuilding)made a significant progress following the introduction of new skills.Several economic policies (including tax moderation and equaldivision of fields) were introduced during this dynasty, whichincreased the government revenue.


Theestablishment of the Tang Dynasty was characterized by a series ofchaos and bloodshed that occurred following the fall of Sui Dynasty.The nation fell into serous chaos towards the end of the Sui Dynasty.This was caused by peasants who rebelled against the tyranny of Yang.The empire was on the verge of getting divided following theemergence of different people who declared themselves as the newempires. For example, Li Yuan, who was one of the key officialsduring the leadership of Yang established an army and declaredhimself as the new emperor (Pee, 2010). These political battles madelife miserable and they culminated in the murder of emperor Yang,leading to the establishment of Tang Dynasty in around 618.

TheTang Dynasty experienced two phases of social, economic, andpolitical transformation. During the first phase (627-649), the newlyformed empire managed to recover the national strength after a seriesof political crises. The empire was under the leadership of TaizongLi, who brought social order and emphasized on a peacefulcoexistence. The social life was impacted following the eradicationof corruption and opening up of the national borders to allow theentry of foreigners who brought new cultural practices, besides thetrade commodities (Xu, 2010).

Thesecond phase of prosperity began in 712 when emperor Ruizongresigned. Xuanzong was enthroned as the new emperor and his era wascharacterized by rapid social, political, and economic development.The rapid growth in the economy was confirmed by the establishment ofChang’an City and its recognition as a metropolis area that wasgrowing at the highest rate in the entire world (Pee, 2010). Theperiod was known as Heyday, which implies that the empire had reachedthe climax of its growth in all aspects, including the social,economic, cultural, and political life.

TheSong Dynasty

Thedynasty lasted between 960 and 1129, but it was divided into twoeras. The first era (the Northern Song) lasted between 960 and 1127,while the second one (the Southern Song) existed between 1127 and1129 (Pee, 2010). The dynasty was referred to as the “golden age”since it was characterized by the establishment of a radiant culture,political stability, and economic prosperity. The peacefulcoexistence, which was confirmed by the lack of serious rebellions bypeasants, enhanced political life of the people and the empire atlarge.

Economicprogress was achieved through the development of the agriculturalsector and industry. Farmers used advanced technology on their farms,which resulted in a significant increase in productivity (Song,2016). Development in the industries (including the handcraft) wasattributed to an increase in the division of labor and theintroduction of better technology. This boosted the empire’scommodity economy more than the achievement made by the previousregimes. This is because workers became more productive to an extentthat they could meet demand for different commodities by the growingpopulation. Extensive application of technology also increased theuse of gunpowder.

Thesocial life of the people was impacted by the developments achievedin terms of culture and science. For example, compass and typographywas discovered during the Song Dynast (Judge, &amp Langdon, 2015).These inventions increased the ease of communication in the society.Most significantly, a large number of artists (including the poetsand scholars) reached their career climax during the Song Dynasty.Examples of these artists include Su Shi, Zhuxi, Shen Huo, and SimaGuang. These poets and scholars enhanced the social life of thepeople by using their work to address social issues (such ascorruption) and share knowledge.


Political,social, and economic changes that were achieved during the threedynasties considered in this paper were dependent on the dedicationof the empires. For example, Emperor Jian brought technology thatboosted agriculture and established the Grand Canal in order toenhance socialization and cultural exchange. The Tang Dynasty wascharacterized by a significant growth in agricultural productivity.Technology was extensively applied in the farms and industry duringthe Song Dynasty. The three dynasties experienced changes indifferent ways, but there were a few similarities.


Judge,H. &amp Langdon, W. (2015). Connections:A world history.Upper Saddle River. Pearson Custom Library.

Pee,C. 2010). Sinology, philosophy, and histories of the Song Dynasty(960-12279) in the United States. Fragments,2, 35-67.

Song,Y. (2016). Pre-modernChinese history.Beijing: The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies.

Xu,T. (2010). Efflorescencein Tang-Song China.London: London School of Economics.