Introduction and Task

Roman Senate,
, empires, and communities across the world developed systems of government to keep order and help run their society more smoothly. Many of the civilizations- Egypt, Sumerian City-States, Mesopotamia, and Persians- used kings and monarchs to rule over their territories. More recently, we have started studying civilizations, such as ancient Greece and the Roman Republic, that provide more power to the people in the form of a democratic-like system of government. The purpose of government, though, has always remained intact: provide order and a system of control to the people.

Your client, Buford T. Justice, is a small town sheriff interested in the system of government in Han Dynasty China and Imperial Rome. Mr. Justice is an active member of the National Rifle Association and captain of his Neighborhood Watch group. His election to office last year was largely the result of his popular campaign slogans, "Just put 'em on ice" and "Democracy Breeds Bureaucracy." To help Mr. Justice decide which empire he should travel back in time to visit, you'll need to research the role of the government in both dynasties, noting how they were alike and different, and present your key findings on the following questions:

Key Questions
  1. What types of governments existed in the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty?
  2. Why and how did Rome move from a republican form of government to an empire that ruled the entire Mediterranean world?
  3. What types of rights and freedoms did people have in both governments?
  4. How much influence did the military have in the Roman and Chinese governments?
  5. Which empire should Mr. Justice, a southern, small town sheriff, visit? Why?

The answers to these questions will culminate in creating a travel poster for each of the two empires. Each poster should be attractive, persuasive, and highlight the major features related to your topic. You will create the posters using (instructions will be provided in class) and they should contain the following components:

Travel Poster Components
  1. One poster for each dynasty
  2. At least three "must see" tourist features with detailed text and relevant images for each dynasty
  3. At least one audio recording on each poster

The oral presentation is your opportunity to share your posters, explain whether your client should visit Han China or the Roman Empire, and should follow these guidelines:
  1. Less than three minutes in length
  2. Should address/explain the "must see" features of each dynasty
  3. Should explain which destination the client should visit and why


Before you begin the research process, read the following brief overviews from Wikipedia to get a sense of government in Han China and Imperial Rome:

Han China Government
The emperor headed the government, promulgating all written laws, serving as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and presiding as the chief executive official. He appointed all government officials who earned a salary of 600 bushels of grain or more (though these salaries were largely paid in coin cash) with the help of advisors who reviewed each nominee. Near the beginning of the dynasty, semi-autonomous regional kings rivaled the emperor's authority. This autonomy was greatly diminished when the imperial court enacted reforms following the threats to central control like the Rebellion of the Seven States. The empress dowager could either be the emperor's actual or symbolic mother, and was in practice more powerful than the emperor, as she could override his decisions. The emperor's executive powers could also be practiced by any official upon whom he bestowed the Staff of Authority. These powers included the right to execute criminals without the imperial court's permission.

The highest officials in the central bureaucracy, who provided advisory, censorial, executive, and judicial roles in governing the empire, consisted of cabinet members known as the Excellencies, heads of large specialized ministries known as the Nine Ministers, and various metropolitan officials of the capital region.[note 1] Distinguished salary-ranks were granted to officials in the bureaucracy, nobles of the imperial family, concubines of the harem, and military officers of the armed forces.

Roman Government
The Republic had no fixed bureaucracy, and collected taxes through the practice of tax farming. Government positions such as quaestor, aedile, or praefect were funded from the office-holder's private finances. To prevent any citizen from gaining too much power, new magistrates were elected annually and had to share power with a colleague. For example, under normal conditions, the highest authority was held by two consuls. In an emergency, a temporary dictator could be appointed. Throughout the Republic, the administrative system was revised several times to comply with new demands. In the end, it proved inefficient for controlling the ever-expanding dominion of Rome, contributing to the establishment of the Roman Empire.

In the early Empire, the pretense of a republican form of government was maintained. The Roman Emperor was portrayed as only a princeps, or "first citizen", and the Senate gained legislative power and all legal authority previously held by the popular assemblies. However, the rule of the emperors became increasingly autocratic, and the Senate was reduced to an advisory body appointed by the emperor. The Empire did not inherit a set bureaucracy from the Republic, since the Republic did not have any permanent governmental structures apart from the Senate. The Emperor appointed assistants and advisers, but the state lacked many institutions, such as a centrally planned budget. Some historians have cited this as a significant reason for the decline of the Roman Empire.

The Research Process

Deciding which dynasty your client would be most interested in visiting may seem like a complicated task, but the Big6 can help you organize your research efforts. As you work through the assignment, keep each of the following steps in mind. If you need help, simply follow the hyperlink for more information:

Step 1: Task Definition
Step 2: Information Seeking Strategies
Step 3: Location and Access
Step 4: Use of Information
Step 5: Synthesis
Step 6: Evaluation

Project Workspace

Each student researching this topic will have a project workspace for documenting his/her research and posting the travel poster. All work related to the project should be maintained there:

Government Student Template DO NOT EDIT THIS PAGE
Aaron W
Will M
Amelia M
Nicole S
Sydney L
Olivia M
Kyle V
Max W