When I first read the entire Sima Qian document, I immediately thought that I was entering top secret files or records or something like a diary from Qian himself. Then I realized that this was his job, to document the activities of the Emperor, and I got a little less excited about the drama within the reading but focused on the material. The unification of China had its good and bad results. I personally think that the results could have been obtained a different and less cruel way than what the Emperor did, but regardless of the process, a totalitarian government was formed as a result of the events unifying China.
When the Emperor ordered the history and free speech to be destroyed, in his mind at the time it made sense. He was trying to rule a nation and eventually graduate to the world in the eyes of the way that one person, himself, shall see it and run it. That makes perfect sense to erase, or order everyone, to burn all remains of education, knowledge, and information from the society he wished to overtake. He was a very smart man because he was intelligent enough to try to get everyone to see that it was his way or death, and everyone feared death so they obeyed his orders and ridded all documents and books among other paraphernalia. This man reminded me of Hitler almost except Hitler used more psychological tactics and convinced a whole nation that they were superior to the Jews. The Emperor here just threatened everyone to side with him or they were to be executed, so logically these citizens just did what he said to avoid dying.
I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same exact thing they did. Most people were probably scared of this man and the amount of power he obtained and how he was using his power was threatening within itself. The Emperor really was in his own little world psychologically and he tried to make that fake world a reality almost and forced others to do what he wanted to make his fantasy a reality. Apparently there was some kind of myth involving immortality herbs and plants or something of that nature and of course the Emperor’s greedy ass wanted it and had people searching for this substance; then he ordered people to start building walls and roads, which is where the Great Wall of China came from, and hiding him out in places because he didn’t want anyone to know of his whereabouts as he gets this sacred plant of immortality. At some point in what I call his personal solitary confinement, he goes crazy thinking that just because the carriages and outriders are outside that they all know that he is located there in the mountains and even when they leave, he is still paranoid and blamed the eunuchs for leaking his hide out spot.
He approaches the eunuchs, gathers them all and asked them who exposed of his get-a-way place and of course none of them confessed (probably because none of them did it) and he arrested them all and executed them. At this point, I’m thinking this man is either crazy or on a super power struggle and it might be a mixture of both. Master Hou and Master Lu prove exactly everything that I said was true with this quote, “The First Emperor is by nature obstinate, cruel, and self-willed. He rose up from among the feudal rulers to unite the entire empire, and now that he has achieved his ends and fulfilled his desires, he believes that there has never been anyone like him since remote antiquity…the emperor delights in showing his authority by punishing and killing, and everyone throughout the empire dreads punishment and tries merely to maintain his position, none daring to exert true loyalty. The emperor never learns of his mistakes and hence grows daily more arrogant, while his underlings, prostrate with fear, flatter and deceive him in order to curry favor.”
This moved me in the sense that I cannot image this crazy man being my president or having any type of power because he obviously doesn’t know how to use it properly for humanity. This man killed people without thinking twice but simply because he had the power to do it, he did. That kind of mentality is shocking and then to know he had no remorse for killing 460 scholars for no reason is even more shocking. He got each scholar to sell each other out and they still got killed anyway. It’s just depressing that a human being would do that much damage and kill all those people with the simple title of “Emperor.” I don’t think that him unifying China was supposed to happen honestly. He wanted to unify the world into little Martians of what he wanted it to be which is why he took the approach of invading all of those cities and taking everything that the “black-headed people” had so they would have nothing else to live for than what he employed them to do because they almost had no other choice if they wanted to survive.
The only other option, given the Emperor’s history, is most likely death so they just accepted his invasion and turned into little robots for him. This was probably the Emperor’s plan for how he was going to take over the entire world, but of course we know it didn’t get quite that far. The first Emperor’s impact was quite beneficial for the people.
They realized that after having only one person running a country that it turns to chaos with a major power struggle and the only way to have a good civilization is for all of the little cities to come together and rule as a whole. This emperor’s craziness was all the motivation for the people to unite and become as one nation instead of many little ones that will only fight for power and resources. They collected all weapons and put the materials to good use in casting bells, bell stands, and statues. The remainder was used in the palace and the people created one standard writing system for the future.