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Contents and Summaries No.2 June 2023
June 21, 2023  

The American Scientific Community and the Strategic Defense Initiative

ZHAO Xuegong

After Reagan took office, the U.S. nuclear strategy and national security policy underwent significant changes. The Reagan administration abandoned the mutually assured destruction strategy and proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) that would lead the U.S.-Soviet arms race into space. SDI was strongly opposed by many American scientists. In their opinion, the SDI was not only technically infeasible, but also would inevitably destroy the strategic balance between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, triggering a new round of arms race and endangering world peace and stability. A group of scientists published relevant research reports and questioned the feasibility of the SDI, expressing their dissatisfaction with the Reagan administration through petitions, lobbying, and boycotting participation in research activities. On the other hand, another group of scientists were actively involved in the research projects. The opposition from the scientific community did not stop the Reagan administration’s strategic defense initiative, although it had some impact on the implementation of the research program.

The Main Civilizations Rising in the Medieval World and Their Characteristics

LIU Jinghua

In the medieval times of the world, the second wave of civilization emerged. Among the civilizations rising in this era, the Germanic civilization, Slavic civilization and Arab-Islamic civilization have the greatest impact on the modern world. Similar to ancient civilizations, these three civilizations in the middle ages were all independent and original civilizations, which were the result of the natural development of their creators’ societies. Unlike ancient civilization, the creators of these three major civilizations all had a nomadic background, and still had certain nomadic habits when integrated into agricultural civilization; they were all civilizations of conquerors; they were all religious civilizations and adhered to monotheism. Their emergence and development had encountered an excellent international environment and opportunity, and they also absorbed many nutrients from foregoing civilizations and coetaneous civilizations. Because of the endogenous mechanism and growth space of civilization were different, European civilization finally stood out from them and took the lead in moving towards a capitalist industry society.

The Poor Rate of Tudor Dynasty and its Taxation Spirit

ZHANG Dianqing

In order to eliminate the persistent phenomenon of social poverty, the Tudor government had enacted a series of Poor Laws to transform church-led charitable donations into a government-imposed tax on poverty. The poor rate was a new tax created on the basis of local practice. It was a kind of local tax authorized by the Parliament, with the parish as the collection unit, with a self-determined tax rate and regular collection, which was used to relieve the local poor families. The emergence of the poor rate indicated the transformation of the tax function from simply obtaining fiscal revenue to directly applying it to the people and regulating the gap between the rich and the poor in social governance. The use of taxes for national internal affairs and the regularization of collection had become the principles of the development of the modern tax system in England.

The Church Tax and Its Influence During the Anglo-Saxon Period

TANG Qiuxiang

Both the Anglos and Saxons were pagans in religion at first, but in the 7th century all the Anglo-Saxon kings and their vassals converted to Christianity. With the rise of Christian culture, church taxes such as church-scot began to appear in the Anglo-Saxon law codes. The church tax was an important source of church wealth in the Anglo-Saxon period. Although the Church had political power and moral authority among the people, the church tax increased the heavy burden of the Anglo-Saxons, making rural life in early medieval England more unstable.

The Selection of Sheriffs and Local Governance in Late Medieval England

LIU Chang

In the late Anglo-Saxon period, various counties in England already had sheriffs, and the initial position of the sheriff often formed spontaneously. After the Norman Conquest, the selection of sheriffs was influenced by factors such as identity, property and conduct, and most of them were appointed by the king. With the infiltration of feudal monarchy and the continuous development of local autonomy, the method of selecting sheriffs had gradually developed into autonomous elections by the county people. In the 14th century, a collective appointment pattern for the selection of sheriffs was formed, accompanied by the inter-county appointment and reappointment of sheriffs. The selection of sheriffs was limited by various factors, and the power of selecting sheriffs became the focus of the game between the king, nobles and local society, but ultimately led by the king. The selection of sheriffs was not only a manifestation of the will of the feudal monarchy to intervene in local society, but also an effective measure for the subjects of local society to participate in governance.

Mayoral Qualifications in Late Medieval England

JIANG Qizhou

The mayoralty was widely established in major cities and boroughs of England since the 13th century. As a new type of official, the qualifications of mayors had gradually been framed by customs, writs, charters and laws, thus introducing a mayoral access system. From a historical long-term perspective, a four-in-one mayoral qualification was roughly formed in the late Middle Ages, which included moral conduct, citizenship, property qualification and governance capability. The establishment and legalization of the mayoral qualifications enabled the overall literacy of the mayor group to be high, which helped to consolidate the foundation of urban autonomy and played the core role of mayors in urban governance. At the same time, it also resulted in a relatively limited base of participation in urban governance, becoming an important inducement and significant manifestation of the oligarchy in urban politics in late medieval England.

The Benefice Income of the Parish Clergy in the 13th Century England

YANG Shaojie

In 13th century England, the contribution of the congregation was the primary factor affecting the benefice income of the parish clergy, laying the foundation for the differentiation of the benefice income of the parish clergy. With the annexation of the parish benefice by some religious patrons, parish clergies divided into two identities, rectors and vicars. The distribution of parish benefice became a problem, and the form of distribution became an important factor affecting the income of the parish clergy. In addition, uncertain factors such as whether to pay the annuity and different salary agreements of vicars also affected the actual benefice income of the parish clergy to a certain extent. Finally, the regional economy had a macro impact on the overall benefice income level of the parish clergy, further widening the gap within the parish clergy group.

A Study on the Outlawry in the 13th Century England

DAI Yaoling

The outlawry in England was a local custom of severely punishing violent crimes before the 13th century. It was mainly used to deprive fugitives who had committed serious crimes of their rights to protection of the kingdom’s laws. By the 13th century, in response to the plight of a large number of criminals fleeing without appearing in court for trial, this local custom gradually transformed into a royal judicial procedure that forced fugitives to appear in the court. On the one hand, this transformation reflected the reliance of the English Crown on local society in judicial practice, that is, the royal court still chose to have the county court ruling the outlawry; the English Crown, on the other hand, did not truly relinquish his control over it, and continued to exert influence over it through the Eyres and the Inlawry, in order to control and stabilize the local society as much as possible. The new development of the outlawry in the 13th century England reflected the mutual checks and balances between the crown and the local society in maintaining legal effectiveness and social order.

A Study on the Tiger Disaster in Zhejiang in the Ming Dynasty

GE Xiaohan

The tiger disaster not only refers to the physical and property damage caused by tigers attacking humans, but it means that tigers have left their inherent living environment and invaded human living space. Due to the tense relationship between humans and land and the deterioration of the ecological environment, tiger disasters occurred frequently in Zhejiang in the Ming Dynasty. It mainly occurred in the mid to late Ming Dynasty, and was concentrated in autumn and winter, spreading from the wild to the town. When facing the problem, people mainly adopt the methods of “avoiding tigers” and “driving away tigers”. The government paid more attention to the spiritual invasion brought about by the tiger disaster, namely letting the gods drive away tigers and quell tiger was far more in line with the logic of local governance than killing tigers. For the people of the Ming Dynasty, tigers were not purely natural objects; the occurrence and handling of tiger disasters reflect their symbiotic thinking with tigers.


Institute of European Civilazation