Kangxi Edict

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Submitted By juicywillow
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Kangxi’s Edict

Kangxi’s Edict stood out to me for a number of reasons. It is very different from what I would expect from an emperor’s valedictory edict. One blaring contrast is that Kangxi does not mention anything about who he is going to pick for his successor. Almost every previous emperor announces in writing prior to their death whom their successor will be however Kangxi kept his choice secret and it was only revealed after his death that his fourth son would be the next emperor. From the edict, I can tell that Kangxi seems to be burdened by a lot of issues surrounding the naming of the heir. He refers to the naming of the heir as a “burden.” This could signal that the reason behind Kangxi’s secrecy is that he is afraid his children will fight each other for the throne and if an heir was named, his other sons may plot against the heir. His second son has already proved troublesome after all.

Another interesting note in Kangxi’s edict is that the tone of the statement is very down to earth. He is a little bit arrogant at times stating that he “was strong from my childhood onwards, with fine muscles, I could bend a bow with a pull of 15 li, and fire a 52 inch arrow.” However, for most of it he is much more grounded than even an average citizen. For instance he doesn’t avoid the issue of death and accepts the fact that everyone dies eventually even emperors stating “death and life are normal phenomena.” He also states “my birth is nothing miraculous nor did anything extraordinary happen when I grew up. I came to the throne at eight, 57 years ago. I’ve never let people talk about supernatural influences of the kind that would have been recorded in histories: lucky starts, auspicious clouds, unicorns and phoenixes…” This is very different from many other emperors who rely on these types of signs to help legitimize their mandate of heaven.…...

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