Name: Shauntel Grant
Question#1:” The political system of the Chinese Empire (Under the Manchus) has been described as an “autocracy superimposed on a democracy” (Harold M. Vinacke) Discuss.
It is extremely imperative when approaching this question, that we clearly express that it is blatantly inaccurate to use a western or European terminology such as “democracy” or “autocracy” when attempting to describe the political system of China under the Manchus rule. What we can however do, is examine the characteristics of their political system, after which we can then try as best as possible to identify what would seem democratic or autocratic based on our western values, however, this would be highly subjective as their values versus our values maybe at different ends of the spectrum.
According to the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, democracy is government by the people; it is also seen as a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. Where as, an autocracy is defined as the unlimited political power of a single ruler. Finally, superimposed is seen as the process of placing something such as a transparent image on or over something else, often with the result that both things appear simultaneously, although one may partially obscure the other.
It is therefore imperative that prior to delving into whether or not it was an autocracy superimposed on a democracy, that we examine the political system under the Manchu’s in its entirety, after which an analysis will be done as to whether it was democratic or autocratic regime.
The political system of the Manchus, according to Vinacke was characterized by a system where the emperor was at the helm of the their hierarchal system, the governor or viceroy stood below him, the prefect was next in line to the viceroy or governor, followed by the magistrates and at...