By examining changes in land distribution between 1870 and 1906, this chapter explains at the macro-level why the state-mandated social hierarchy endured in Shuangcheng. It shows that, despite the upward and downward wealth mobility at individual household level, the state land allocation policies still effectively maintained a relatively equal land distribution within each of the metropolitan and rural bannermen population category. Thus, land distribution among these entitled bannermen exhibited a pattern of stratification without concentration. This pattern of land distribution sustained a stable landowner class. By presenting one of the first empirical studies of land distribution in early modern China, this chapter shows the resilient nature of the social hierarchy created by state land allocation. It challenges the view that, when the Qing government privatized the state land in Manchuria, the majority of bannermen lost their land ownership to civilian commoners.
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