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Zhu Teng: Research on the Officials at Lower Levels in the Qin Dynasty

Abstract: The issue of officials at lower levels discussed in the academic field of legal history mostly focuses on the Qing Dynasty, which can be traced back to the Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern dynasties. However, in accordance with the record of unearthed bamboo and wooden slips in recent years, the officials at lower levels in the county court of Qin Dynasty overtook a large number of administrative work. Since the imperial court could
not give them good treatment in the salary and promotion because of the financial balance and
political idea
, they disobeyed the public morality and seek personal gains by administrative
techniques. Although the imperial court attempted to restrict them by law and morality
, their
gloomy career prospects finally made the endeavor of imperial court fail to some extent. Therefore
, as the characteristics of officials at lower levels in the traditional Chinese government were low status, holding great real power, having bad names, etc. The appearance of the class of officials in Qin Dynasty, which had similar characteristics, meant the preliminary formation of the culture of officials at lower levels. Thus, the real condition of administration under the regime of centralism could also be reconsidered.

Keyword: Bamboo and Wooden slips; the Officials at Lower Levels

(Editor: Liu Xiaoling)

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