Li Si facts for kids

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Li Si
李斯
Li Si.jpg
Left Imperial Chancellor (左丞相)
In office
? (?) – 208 BC (208 BC)
Monarch Qin Shi Huang / Qin Er Shi
Succeeded by Zhao Gao
Personal details
Born c. 280 BC
Died 208 BC (aged 71–72)
Children
  • Li You
  • many other children
Occupation Official
Li Si
Chinese 李斯

Li Si (/ˈl ˈs/; c. 280 BC – September or October 208 BC) was a Chinese politician of the Qin dynasty, well known Legalist writer and politician, and notable calligrapher. He served as Chancellor (or Prime Minister) from 246–208 BC under two rulers: Qin Shi Huang, the king of the Qin state and later the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty; and Qin Er Shi, Qin Shi Huang's eighteenth son and the Second Emperor. Concerning administrative methods, Li Si "indicated that he admired and utilized the ideas of Shen Buhai", repeatedly referring to the technique of Shen Buhai and Han Fei, but regarding law followed Shang Yang.

Stanford University's John Knoblock considered Li Si "one of the two or three most important figures in Chinese history". Having a clear vision of universal empire and "one world comprising all Chinese, bringing with universal dominion universal peace", Li Si was "largely responsible for the creation of those institutions that made the Qin dynasty the first universal state in Chinese history".

Li Si assisted the Emperor Shi Huangdi in unifying the laws, governmental ordinances, weights and measures, and standardized chariots, carts, and the characters used in writing... [facilitating] the cultural unification of China. He "created a government based solely on merit, so that in the empire sons and younger brothers in the imperial clan were not ennobled, but meritorious ministers were", and "pacified the frontier regions by subduing the barbarians to the north and south". He had the weapons of the feudal states melted and cast into musical bells and large human statues, and relaxed taxes and the draconian punishments inherited from Shang Yang.


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