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The Rise Of Land Tax And The Fall Of Dynasties In Chinese Histories

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Chapter Summary

Historians have not failed to note the importance of the exorbitant rate of land tax at the end of the Ming dynasty of 1368-1643. Excessive taxation and corruption in the levying of the taxes provoked in the end peasant risings all over China. While the life of the peasants had become desperate, it is clear from the decrees, memorials and other documents, including the memoirs of contemporary statesmen, that the landlords had not been similarly affected. The Manchu dynasty fell chiefly not because of foreign invasion but because its ruling class had wrecked the peasant-agrarian foundation on which the state was built. Even when the dynasty did at last fall, the influence of the foreign powers brought in a patched-up republic which maintained practically unchanged the system of the ruling class, and the super-tribute paid out by the ruling class on foreign loans, armaments and so forth.

Keywords: China; corruption; excessive taxation; land tax; landlords; Ming dynasty; peasant-agrarian foundation; peasants; ruling class

10.1163/ej.9781905246526.i-676.105
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