History 115. Essay 1
Kangxi and Yongzheng
The emperor Kangxi is well known as one of the most admired rulers in China's history. He reigned China for the longest time period. "In the final years of the emperor's life, Kangxi was the master of a powerful and unified state" (Cheng and Lestz, 58). From the Kangxi's Valedictory Edict in 1717, I see a man who had brilliant talent, thought, and eloquence. Reading between the lines, I feel that Kangxi regarded himself as a strong Mandate of Heaven that he was naturally picked by the heaven to be the ruler of China.
As a follower of Confucius's ideas and theories, Kangxi definitely showed the utmost respect for the complex and diverse legacy. During his era, Confucian materials such as Four Books and Five Classics were still prevalent and became doctrines that were the basis for the state examinations leading scholars to government services. Education and examinations had become big and important things under Kangxi's control, which, I think, is an aspect representing Kangxi's ideas as a Confucian ruler. He also mentioned that a great ruler should be sincere in reverence for Heaven and ancestors. As he stated in his valedictory, "Be kind to men from afar and keep the able ones near, nourish the people, think of the profit of all as being the real profit and the mind of the whole country as being the real mind, be considerate to officials and act as a father to the people, protect the state before danger comes and govern well before there is any disturbance, be always diligent and always careful, and maintain the balance between leniency and strictness, between principle and expediency, so that long-range plans can be made for the country" (Kangxi, 58).
The excerpt above is a well representation of Kangxi's fundamental ways to run the state while also cooperating the essential ideas of Confucian culture and ethics. From this aspect, I agree that Kangxi did a good job showing his Confucian legitimacy...
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