Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wealth and Power

            The Mongols conquered vast areas of land and empires, and although how they governed these empires was different in each circumstance, they had the same motives. In Russia the Mongols started off their rule harshly but really let Russia rule itself as long as tribute was paid. In China, it was different; the Mongols controlled the ruling government, but they still expected taxes. Although the Mongols ruled in very different ways depending on the conquered peoples, the same lust for wealth and power was behind their political and economic decisions.
            In China there was a greater political intervention than in Russia. In Russia there was more leniency. The Mongols banned the civil service examinations, which held such importance in Chinese society. They elected foreigners and Mongols for the higher positions of power, leaving the Chinese to the local ruling jobs. In Russia though, the Mongols allowed the princes and rulers to remain as long as taxes were paid.
            The people in both China and Russia were heavily taxed, but in Russia it was worse. The peasants in Russia not only had to pay taxes to the Mongols, they had to pay taxes to their own governments and churches too. In China the Mongols were the government so there was no double taxing. The taxes the Mongols received led to the richer, stronger and more advanced government that they wanted.

            Both China and Russia experienced an economic boom with the arrival of the Mongols. Their infrastructure and technology improved. The Mongols created and protected easy and effective trading routes. Having safe trade routes was crucial to the Mongols’, China’s and Russia’s economic prosperity. The Mongols facilitated commerce and communication; even creating their own mail system. They also recognized the value of the merchant and artisan classes established in China and contributed resources to them. Although China already had a rather stable economy when the Mongols invaded; Russia did not. Thus this stable Mongol economy, aided greatly by protected trade routes, had a larger effect on Russia.
The Mongols followed the dynastic cycle like previous dynasties in China, because it seemed to work well.  Although they repudiated the Confucian Bureaucracy, they recognized the value in it and adopted it’s administrative principles. In Russia the Mongol take-over actually made it possible for the princes and church leaders to be harsher in their governing and tax systems. While the Mongols took over rule and incorporated Chinese ideals in China, in Russia they let the Princes rule themselves and the

            Although the Mongols entry into both China and Russia was violent it led to great political and economic innovations such as safe trade. The rule of the Mongols eventually led to the reunification of China.  Despite the differences in ruling, there was unified economic and political outcome that allowed the Mongols to be very wealthy and powerful for a time.