Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This dissertation explores the transformation of Ming China in the gunpowder age. Focusing on the relation between military technology, politics, and fiscal administration, it closely traces the change of the Ming state in association with the gunpowder revolution. Two aspects of institutional change receive special attention. The first aspect is the formation of an absolute authority in the Ming period, a development exhibiting many parallels with the absolute monarchies of other major gunpowder states in Europe and the Islamic world. The second is the modification of the Confucian bureaucratic government. The revolutions in gunpowder technology had a complex impact on the state bureaucracy in China. On one hand, the rise of absolute power in the early Ming period undermined Confucian central bureaucratic tradition, leading to frequent conflicts in court politics as well as divisions in state finance. On the other hand, the changes in the methods of warfare provided a new opportunity for civil officials especially provincial governors to participate in state military affairs. Paradoxically, the middle Ming period witnessed the expansion of the Confucian bureaucracy in the administration of military and frontier affairs. The Ming’s establishment of civil dominance over the military, a common feature of modern states, stood at odds with other gunpowder states which were primarily dominated by the military. Analysis of the two aspects together will offer insights into a new paradigm of the state formation of China in the gunpowder age.
Chair and Committee
Steven B. Miles
Christian Johnson, Hayrettin Yücesoy, Peter Kastor, Zhao Ma,
Duan, Weicong, "Ming China As A Gunpowder Empire: Military Technology, Politics, And Fiscal Administration, 1350-1620" (2018). Arts & Sciences Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1719.