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Emperor and AncestorState and Lineage in South China$
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David Faure

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804753180

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804753180.001.0001

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Gentry Leadership in Local Society

Gentry Leadership in Local Society

(p.151) Chapter Twelve Gentry Leadership in Local Society
Emperor and Ancestor
Stanford University Press

The fall of the Ming dynasty shattered gentry leadership. In the third month of 1644, the Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide on Coal Hill outside the palace in Beijing. On his death, people in Longjiang were enjoying the opera. Zhou Qizeng, newly appointed magistrate of Shunde county, heard the news of the suicide while on his way to the county to assume office. Upon his arrival in Shunde, Zhou was drawn into local disputes over land. By the Qing dynasty, gentry leadership occupied a central place in imperial ideology. It was only during the last decades of the Ming dynasty that members of the gentry regarded themselves as a class championing local issues. In the Pearl River Delta, senior officials used their connections and clout to defend local community interests. The government replaced the military founded on the lijia by registering more households, which defended the empire against the rebels before evolving into the lineages of the Pearl River Delta.

Keywords:   Ming dynasty, lineages, gentry, suicide, Chongzhen Emperor, Zhou Qizeng, Pearl River Delta, senior officials, households, military

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