The Western Zhou Dynasty implemented the enfeoffment system, and the emperor of Zhou was in the absolute dominant position. His throne was inherited by his eldest son, and other concubines were enfeoffed as small clans. They were also a large number of clans with the same surname in their respective feudal countries, and their throne was inherited by their eldest son, and the other sons of concubines were enfeoffed as small clans. In their respective fiefs, Qing officials were also a large number of clans with the same surname. Their knighthood was still inherited by their eldest son, and the rest of the concubines were enfeoffed as scholars as small clans.
In this way, according to the patriarchal system and the enfeoffment system, a pyramid hierarchy composed of the emperor, princes, officials, scholars and other clan nobles at all levels was formed. The relationship between different levels is not only the relationship between big and small sects, but also the relationship between upper and lower levels.
Scholars in modern times have different opinions on when the enfeoffment system formally originated. The emergence and development of enfeoffment system has experienced a long process, and the origin time has been difficult to verify. According to the records of the historical records, in the era of the Yellow Emperor, “the princes Xian Laibin followed”, “the princes Xian respected Xuanyuan as the son of heaven”, and the Yellow Emperor “placed the left and right big prison in all countries”, which describes the early feudal system. The five emperors and three dynasties continued to develop, and the perfection of the feudal system reached its peak in the Zhou Dynasty. Liu Yimou said, “from the Tang, Yu and Zhou dynasties, emperors and princes ruled separately”, that is, from Yao and Shun to Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties, feudal systems were adopted.
In ancient China, the “son of heaven” distributed the land to royal children, meritorious officials or descendants of ancient emperors, and the land was called “vassal state”, “feudal state” or “vassal state”, etc. the monarch who ruled the fief was called “vassal state”, “vassal state”, etc.
In order to maintain the rule, the enfeoffment system stipulates that the princes must:
? Obey the order of Zhou Tianzi;
? The princes had the obligation to defend the territory for the emperor of Zhou;
? Entourage combat;
? Pay tribute;
? The obligation of pilgrimage and reporting.
At the same time, the princes in their own fiefdoms, but also the implementation of re enfeoffment of officials. The Qing officials then distributed the land and people to the scholars. The officials and scholars of the Qing Dynasty should also undertake the obligations of fighting to the next higher level. Such layers of enfeoffment formed a strict hierarchy within the aristocratic ruling class, “the son of heaven – princes – officials – scholars”.
Qin Shihuang unified, abolished the enfeoffment system, and implemented the county system. At the beginning of the Han Dynasty, it was also adopted. After the chaos of the seven countries was pacified, all the officials of the feudal state were appointed and removed by the central government, and the princes only collected taxes. The feudal state existed in name only. After Wei and Jin Dynasties, successive dynasties also had enfeoffment system, which was not entirely the same in nature.
Nomenclature of enfeoffment system
Zhang Qizhi said, “the enfeoffment system in the Western Zhou Dynasty is called feudalism, that is, enfeoffment and founding of the country.
Enfeoffment system was the political system of the Western Zhou Dynasty. From the perspective of purpose, it is to consolidate the state power of slavery. In terms of specific practices, the king of Zhou enfevered the royal family, meritorious officials and previous nobles to be vassals everywhere and established the vassal state. In essence, enfeoffment system is a national system, which belongs to the superstructure and mainly solves the internal contradictions of the ruling class. The main contradiction in slave society is the contradiction between slave owners and slaves. The contradiction within the slave owner class is a secondary contradiction, but the secondary contradiction sometimes occupies a dominant position. Enfeoffment as the superstructure of our slave society is based on the economic foundation of the well field system. The significance of implementing the enfeoffment system includes:
(1) it summed up historical experience and organically combined the establishment of local power with the consolidation of its own rule. In the process of enfeoffing princes, the Zhou Dynasty formulated a series of systems to enable the royal family to effectively control the whole territory.
? the enfeoffment system made the unified social system widely implemented in the states of princes. The royal family of Zhou made the emperor of Zhou become a real monarch of princes with the provisions of power and obligation, which changed the situation that the king was the head of princes in the Xia and Shang Dynasties.
? the enfeoffment system promoted the rapid development of the social history of the vassal states, and the unified slavery system was established and developed in the vassal states, which laid a foundation for the prosperity of the slave economy.
(4) the enfeoffment system accelerated the process of the integration of all ethnic groups. The remote feudal states that were enfeoffed gradually accepted the culture of the Central Plains. Some big princes continued to use troops to the surrounding Yi, Rong, Di and other ethnic minorities, and then annexed their land for cultural infiltration.
All the princes must obey the orders of the prince of Zhou. All the princes have the obligation to defend the territory, fight with his followers, pay tribute and make pilgrimage for the prince of Zhou.