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Home China History China Ancient History Shang Yang's Reform


Shang Yang's Reform


The Portrait of Shang Yang
(click for a larger picture)
Qin State's rising and mightiness before Qin Dynasty foundation as well as superiority to other six states in national power and military strength was almost from Shang Yang's reform, which historically was seen as the turning point of destiny of Qin State. Objectively speaking, Shang Yang's Reform is a quite famous reform or revolution and also the most successful one among diversity of reforms in warring states period.

At the early time of Shang Yang's Reform, in terms of officials' inconsistent statements and behaviors. How to make people trust the government was a vital problem. Shang Yang flexibly and swiftly took many relevant measures to ease such a trust crisis. There was a related story exemplified his measures: Amid Shang Yang's Reform, a mass of people did not believe what written in new law. For showing his dependability, Shang Yang erected a tall and big wood at the gate of city and proclaimed the man would be awarded 10 pieces of gold if he moved this wood to other appointed place. At first, no one was willing to abide by this proclamation because most of them thought it was too dream-like to believe. And the awards were also added from 10 pieces of gold to 50 pieces of gold. A young man stood out and moved the wood according to the regulation, and as it was, he was awarded 50 pieces of gold. Since then, the reform was trusted and accepted by many people.

The reform easily moved on and Qin State finally became the most powerful state among seven states, though Shang Yan was later killed inhumanely for his reform did great harm to the benefit of high-level class





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