Emperor Kangxi's Reflections

Published: 2021-09-12 11:25:11
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The Chinese emperor Kangxi, who ruled for a lengthy 61 years from 1661 to 1722 was a man of great power and principle who extended his country's control "deep into inner Asia." Kangxi was a man whose decisions greatly impacted the day-to-day lives of his people.
The emperor used his power by often making examples of those who were not of high moral values, character, or action, sometimes by putting them to death. He states that the emperor has the power to give and take away his people's lives. He believes that "sometimes people have to be persuaded into morality by the example of an execution." It was through his decisions and use of executions that he demonstrated both his power and his mercifulness. He would spare many lives each year when giving the final verdict on death sentences. Kangxi's power is also shown by his dominion over all his officials and common people.
Although Kangxi had considerable absolute power, there were significant limitations on that power. Because his empire was vast and his peoples so widely dispersed, he could not ensure that every area was acting according to his high moral principles. Thus corruption of public officials was an occurrence, for "there is no way the emperor can know every official in the country." The limits of his power are also shown in the actions of the Bureau of Astronomy when they "distort the truth" and he was forced to make his own calculations on the matter.

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