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The historical trend of Ming China: An imperial agric-mercantile society

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image of Frontiers of History in China

Majority of contemporary Chinese historians have been employing a conceptual framework focusing on the difficulty of capitalistic development in China to analyze the historical trend and potentials of late imperial China. This approach based upon the presupposition of viewing the pattern of Chinese history as abnormal reflects with the remaining influence of the Western-centric methodology. Further, based upon a “normal” point of view, seven fundamental, irreversible, and systematical changes to the Ming society could be identified. By conclusion, China in the Ming period was transforming into an imperial agric-mercantile society. This process proves that late imperial China was not stagnate society without “history,” meanwhile, its pattern of development was clearly not identical to the Western style modernization progress.


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