One of the most historic Chinese dynasties is that of the Ch'in.The Ch'in is known
as the great, evil dynasty. They were imperial, autocratic, and frequently cruel, but they
were also illustrious political thinkers, and reformers who historically brought about one
of the most dynamic periods of Chinese government. However, the dynasty only lasted a
little more then a decade. When the Chou began to weaken around 500 BC, these
independent states began to war among themselves over territory and influence. The
Chinese refer to this time as The Warring States period. Which did not end until the all of
north China was unified under a single empire, the Ch'in dyansty. The Ch'in dominated
China from 221 BC to the time of their fall fifteen years later in 206 BC. Their
accomplishments were so astounding that the name China is derived from the Ch'in.
The traditional start of the Ch'in dynasty to 256 BC, although the unification of
China did not occur until 221 BC.
By 256 BC, the Ch'in had become the most powerful
state in China, and in 246 BC, the kingdom fell to a thirteen year old boy, Ch'eng. He
surrounded himself with brilliant Legalist advisors. His most powerful and trusted advisor
was Li Ssu, one of the founders of Legalism. Under their advice, in 232 BC, when King
Ch'eng was twenty-seven, he began a vigorous campaign to unify and centralize all the
northern kingdoms. The surrounding kingdoms were no match for the wealth and military
power of the Ch'in, and by 221 BC, Ch'eng conquered all of the northern kingdoms.
King Ch'eng assumed the title, Ch'in shih-huang-ti, or "The First Exalted Emperor
of the Ch'in." Under guidance, and the advice of Li Ssu, Ch'in shih-huang-ti created a
form of government which served as a...