In 655, she was declared the new Empress. This did not stop her quest for being emperor. Her husband valued her for she was very witty. She introduced changes in the fields of agriculture, labor and tax reduction methods. The Emperor greatly valued her such that anyone who tried to oppose her was fired or forced to commit suicide. She was very apt to make sure that the chancellors loyal to the former empress like Chu Suiliang and Zhangsun Wuji were disposed. By doing this, she became very powerful and influential. Gaozong even attended morning assemblies with Wu Zetian.
This was the first time that this ever happened in the Chinese history: it meant absolute power. In 660, the emperor became infected with an eye disease. As a result of this disease, the emperor was too weak to govern such that he relied a lot on her. After the death of her husband, Zetian exiled the elder son whom she claimed was not loyal to her. She then crowned the younger son, Li Dan as successor because he was submissive to her (Dennis 50).
By doing this, gained total control of the dynasty. In 690, she took over the Tang Dynasty. She then changed the name of the dynasty from Tang to Zhou in AD 690 (Jie, Bijun & Mow 93). In China, the empress is not a title for a ruler. It is for this reason that she declared herself the Holy Emperor. Wu Zhao’s Rule When Wu Zetian became emperor, she made sure that those who served in the dynasty were people who were loyal to her. She created a secret police force to act as a spying agent for her.
Any person who was found rebelling against her was executed. She would not show mercy to any person who tried to oppose her. The more she gained power and control, the more confident she became. Wu Zhao’s Achievements Even though Zeitian rose to power in an unpopular way, she made great strides. During her reign, Wu Zeitian called for all talented people to serve in the civil service. She did all interviews personally and by doing this, the corrupt deals that were involved in recruitments were done away with. In her leadership, she ensured that she listened to all people who had advice that could benefit the dynasty.
She did not dismiss advice even if it was from her critics. She paid special attention to the agriculture system. More land was brought under cultivation, and agricultural textbooks were introduced. Taxes were reduced as an incentive to increase production. Corvee was also imposed on the peasants so as to improve in their production. She is recognized for defeating the Confucian belief that women were inferior.
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