From Resurgence to Frustration: A Political Historical Study on the Rehabilitation of the Anti-reform Faction in the Early Twelfth Century China
|Keywords:||復權;黨爭;兩宋之交;舊黨;政治史;政治文化;rehabilitation;factional conflict;between the two Song dynasties;the anti-reform faction;political history;political culture||Issue Date:||2016||Abstract:||
This thesis seeks to study the political rehabilitation of the jiudang (anti-reform faction) in the early 12th century China, especially its process and interaction with existing political institutions. Thereby I hope to improve our understanding of the enduring influences left by the factional conflicts over the reform movement initiated in the reign of Emperor Shenzong (r. 1067-1085), and more generally, of the political culture of Song China. In late Northern Song, through the intervention of emperors and empress regents, the conflicts between the xindang (reform faction) and the jiudang brutalized, which culminated in Emperor Huizong (r. 1100-1126)’s bans on “Yuanyou faction” and “Yuanyou learning.” Soon most of the jiudang officials and their families were deprived of political privileges. However, after the climactic blacklist in 1104, the persecution was gradually alleviated, especially by the promulgation of amnesties. Then some of the factionalists’ families settled in the prefectures near Kaifeng, purchased farmland and dwellings, built social networks, and seized any opportunity for official appointment. All their endeavors were in preparation for an unpredictable comeback in the future. In early 1126, the invasion of Jurchens prompted Emperor Qinzong (r. 1126-1127) to abolish the bans imposed on the jiudang. However, when the resurgent jiudang officials appealed for comprehensive rehabilitation, Qinzong lent little support due to the pressing military crisis. In the spring of 1127, after the Jurchens captured the Song emperors, Ex-empress Meng of Yuanyou (1073-1131), an imperial woman twice deposed for being thought to sympathize with the jiudang, was installed as empress dowager and regent, and then she entrusted the regime to Emperor Gaozong (r. 1127-1162). Gaozong knew that the historical controversies surrounding Empress Dowager Meng endangered the legitimacy of his regime. Besides, Gaozong needed to use the xindang and the reform as scapegoats for the decline of the Song dynasty. Thus the rehabilitation of the jiudang officials was proclaimed to restore their official titles and grant their male issue official appointment. Yet, controversies continued as the jiudang regained power. Owing to the prestige the jiudang officials left behind, their descendants and disciples were often cajoled by ambitious chief councilors, thus entangled in power struggles. For instance, Zhao Ding (1085-1147) recruited numerous officials of jiudang background to form his base of support, and attempted to implement the Yuanyou political ideal of “allowing the people to rest.” Nonetheless, they were challenged by Zhang Jun (1097-1164), who was discontent with the veneration of the jiudang. Later in 1138, Zhao Ding was crippled by his staggering attitude to the peace negotiation between Song and Jin, only to be expelled from court by Gaozong and Qin Kuai, who were resolved to make peace. After 1138, the speech of scholar-officials was growingly restricted. Even criticizing the previous reigns on behalf of the jiudang was no longer allowed around 1142. Although Gaozong and Qin Kuai once supported the jiudang to strengthen their political appeal, in fact they were long tired of the decades-long controversies over the late Northern Song reform. Officials’ criticism of his father Huizong’s rule even more embarrassed Gaozong. As a result, when the jiudang lost its political significance, its politically meaningful rehabilitation ended.
|Appears in Collections:||歷史學系|
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