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Sui dynasty

The Sui dynasty was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unified the Northern and Southern dynasties and reinstalled the rule of ethnic Chinese in the entirety of China proper, along with sinicization of former nomadic ethnic minorities within its territory, it was succeeded by the Tang dynasty, which inherited its foundation. Founded by Emperor Wen of Sui, the Sui dynasty capital was Chang'an and Luoyang. Emperors Wen and Yang undertook various centralized reforms, most notably the equal-field system, intended to reduce economic inequality and improve agricultural productivity, they spread and encouraged Buddhism throughout the empire. By the middle of the dynasty, the newly unified empire entered a golden age of prosperity with vast agricultural surplus that supported rapid population growth. A lasting legacy of the Sui dynasty was the Grand Canal. With the eastern capital Luoyang at the center of the network, it linked the west-lying capital Chang'an to the economic and agricultural centers of the east towards Hangzhou, to the northern border near modern Beijing.

While the pressing initial motives were for shipment of grains to the capital, for transporting troops and military logistics, the reliable inland shipment links would facilitate domestic trades, flow of people and cultural exchange for centuries. Along with the extension of the Great Wall, the construction of the eastern capital city of Luoyang, these mega projects, led by an efficient centralized bureaucracy, would amass millions of conscripted workers from the large population base, at heavy cost of human lives. After a series of costly and disastrous military campaigns against Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, ended in defeat by 614, the dynasty disintegrated under a series of popular revolts culminating in the assassination of Emperor Yang by his ministers in 618; the dynasty, which lasted only thirty-seven years, was undermined by ambitious wars and construction projects, which overstretched its resources. Under Emperor Yang, heavy taxation and compulsory labor duties would induce widespread revolts and brief civil war following the fall of the dynasty.

The dynasty is compared to the earlier Qin dynasty for unifying China after prolonged division. Wide-ranging reforms and construction projects were undertaken to consolidate the newly unified state, with long-lasting influences beyond their short dynastic reigns. Towards the late Northern and Southern dynasties, the Northern Zhou conquered the Northern Qi in 577 and reunified northern China; the century's trend of gradual conquest of the southern dynasties of the Han Chinese by the northern dynasties, which were ruled by ethnic minority Xianbei, would become inevitable. By this time, the founder of the Sui dynasty, Yang Jian, an ethnic Han Chinese, became the regent to the Northern Zhou court, his daughter was the Empress Dowager, her stepson, Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou, was a child. After crushing an army in the eastern provinces, Yang Jian usurped the throne to become Emperor Wen of Sui. While the Duke of Sui when serving at the Zhou court, where the character "Sui 隨" means "to follow" and implies loyalty, Emperor Wen created the unique character "Sui", morphed from the character of his former title, as the name of his newly founded dynasty.

In a bloody purge, he had fifty-nine princes of the Zhou royal family eliminated, yet became known as the "Cultured Emperor". Emperor Wen reclaimed his Han surname of Yang. Having won the support of Confucian scholars who held power in previous Han dynasties, Emperor Wen initiated a series of reforms aimed at strengthening his empire for the wars that would reunify China. In his campaign for southern conquest, Emperor Wen assembled thousands of boats to confront the naval forces of the Chen dynasty on the Yangtze River; the largest of these ships were tall, having five layered decks and the capacity for 800 non-crew personnel. They were outfitted with six 50-foot-long booms that were used to swing and damage enemy ships, or to pin them down so that Sui marine troops could use act-and-board techniques. Besides employing Xianbei and other Chinese ethnic groups for the fight against Chen, Emperor Wen employed the service of people from southeastern Sichuan, which Sui had conquered. In 588, the Sui had amassed 518,000 troops along the northern bank of the Yangtze River, stretching from Sichuan to the East China Sea.

The Chen dynasty could not withstand such an assault. By 589, Sui troops entered the last emperor of Chen surrendered; the city was razed to the ground, while Sui troops escorted Chen nobles back north, where the northern aristocrats became fascinated with everything the south had to provide culturally and intellectually. Although Emperor Wen was famous for bankrupting the state treasury with warfare and construction projects, he made many improvements to infrastructure during his early reign, he established granaries as sources of food and as a means to regulate market prices from the taxation of crops, much like the earlier Han dynasty. The large agricultural surplus supported rapid growth of population to a historical peak, only surpassed at the zenith of the Tang Dynasty more than a century later; the state capital of Chang'an, while situated in the militarily secure heartland of Guanzhong, was remote from the economic centers to the east and south of the empire. Emperor Wen init

Philip Gordon

Philip H. "Phil" Gordon is an American diplomat and foreign policy expert. From 2013 to 2015, Gordon served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, the Persian Gulf Region. From 2009 to 2013 he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Eurasian Affairs. Gordon is the Mary and David Boies senior fellow in U. S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he focuses on US foreign policy, the Middle East, Europe. He is a Senior Adviser at Albright Stonebridge Group, he received his Ph. D. in international relations and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1991. He received an M. A. from SAIS in 1987 and a B. A. from Ohio University in 1984. Gordon held a number of research and teaching positions, including at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D. C.. From 1998 to 1999, he served as the Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton.

He was Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, the Gulf Region from 2013 to 2015. As the most senior White House official focused on the greater Middle East, he worked with the president, secretary of state, national security advisor on issues including the Iranian nuclear program, Middle East peace negotiations, the conflict in Syria, security in Iraq, U. S. relations with the Gulf states, political developments North Africa, bilateral relations with Israel, Egypt and Lebanon. He chaired numerous interagency processes engaged foreign leaders, directed a staff of some 20 directors and other national security specialists. Prior to joining the National Security Council staff, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from May 2009 to March 2013. Working with the Secretary of State, his priorities for the region included cooperating with Europe on global issues. S. commercial and business interests.

He was the principal architect of the Obama administration's 2009 attempt to elevate relations with Turkey. He joined the Council on Foreign Relations in April 2015 as a senior fellow focused on U. S. foreign and national security policy. S. policy in the Middle East. Gordon has published articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, the Atlantic, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, he has authored several books, including: Winning the Right War: The Path to Security for America and the World, 2008 Winning Turkey: How America, And Turkey Can Revive A Fading Partnership, 2008 History Strikes Back: How States, And Conflicts Are Shaping The Twenty-first Century, ed. 2008 Crescent of Crisis: US-European Strategy for the Middle East, ed. 2006 Allies at War: The United States and the Crisis Over Iraq, 2004 The French Challenge: Adapting to Globalization, 2001 Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb, ed. 1999 NATO's Transformation, ed. 1997 France and the Western Alliance, 1995 A Certain Idea of France, 1993He has translated two books: Nicolas Sarkozy's Testimony: France and the World in the Twenty-First Century, 2007, Hubert Vedrine's France in the Age of Globalization, 2001.

Appearances on C-SPAN

John Surratt

John Harrison Surrat Jr. was accused of plotting with John Wilkes Booth to kidnap U. S. President Abraham Lincoln, his mother, Mary Surratt, was convicted of conspiracy and hanged by the U. S. government. He avoided arrest after the assassination by fleeing to Canada and to Europe, he thus avoided the fate of the other conspirators. He served as a Pontifical Zouave but was recognized and arrested, he escaped to Egypt but was arrested and extradited. By the time of his trial, the statute of limitations had expired on most of the potential charges which meant that he was never convicted of anything, he was born in 1844, to John Harrison Surratt Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt, in what is today Congress Heights. His baptism took place in 1844 at St. Peter's Church, Washington, D. C. In 1861, he was enrolled at St. Charles College, where he was studying or the priesthood and met Louis Weichmann; when his father died in 1862, Surratt was appointed the postmaster for Surrattsville, Maryland. Surratt served as spy.

After he had been carrying dispatches about Union troop movements across the Potomac River. Dr. Samuel Mudd introduced Surratt to Booth on December 23, 1864, Surratt agreed to help Booth kidnap Lincoln; the meeting took place at the National Hotel, in Washington, D. C. where Booth lived. Booth's plan was to seize Lincoln and take him to Richmond, Virginia, to exchange him for thousands of Confederate prisoners of war. On March 17, 1865, Surratt and Booth, along with their comrades, waited in ambush for Lincoln's carriage to leave the Campbell General Hospital to return to Washington. However, Lincoln had remained in Washington. After the assassination of Lincoln, on April 14, 1865, Surratt denied any involvement and said that he was in Elmira, New York, he was one of the first people suspected of the attempt to assassinate Secretary of State William H. Seward, but the culprit was soon discovered to be Lewis Powell; when he learned of the assassination, Surratt fled to Montreal, Lower Canada, arriving on April 17, 1865.

He went to St. Liboire, where a Catholic priest, Father Charles Boucher, gave him sanctuary. Surratt remained there while his mother was arrested and hanged in the United States for conspiracy. Aided by ex-Confederate agents Beverly Tucker and Edwin Lee, disguised, booked passage under a false name, he landed at Liverpool in September. Surratt would serve for a time in the Ninth Company of the Pontifical Zouaves, in the Papal States, under the name John Watson. An old friend, Henri Beaumont de Sainte-Marie, recognized Surratt and notified papal officials and the US minister in Rome, Rufus King. On November 7, 1866, Surratt was sent to the Velletri prison, he lived with the supporters of Garibaldi, who gave him safe passage. Surratt posed as a Canadian citizen named Walters, he booked passage to Alexandria, but was arrested there by US officials on November 23, 1866, still in his Pontifical Zouaves uniform. He returned to the US on the USS Swatara to the Washington Navy Yard in early 1867. Eighteen months after his mother was hanged, Surratt was tried in a Maryland civilian court.

It was not before a military commission, unlike the trials of his mother and the others, as a US Supreme Court decision, Ex parte Milligan, had declared the trial of civilians before military tribunals to be unconstitutional if civilian courts were still open. Judge David Carter presided over Surratt's trial, Edwards Pierrepont conducted the federal government's case against him. Surratt's lead attorney, Joseph Habersham Bradley, admitted Surratt's part in plotting to kidnap Lincoln but denied any involvement in the murder plot. After two months of testimony, Surratt was released after a mistrial; the statute of limitations on charges other than murder had run out, Surratt was released on bail. Surratt tried to farm tobacco and taught at the Rockville Female Academy. In 1870, as one of the last surviving members of the conspiracy, Surratt began a much-heralded public lecture tour. On December 6, at a small courthouse in Rockville, Maryland, in a 75-minute speech, Surratt admitted his involvement in the scheme to kidnap Lincoln.

However, he maintained that he knew nothing of the assassination plot and reiterated that he was in Elmira. He disavowed any participation by the Confederate government, reviled Weichmann as a "perjurer", responsible for his mother's death and said his friends had kept from him the seriousness of her plight in Washington. After that revelation, it was reported in Washington's Evening Star that the band played "Dixie" and a small concert was improvised, with Surratt the center of female attention. Three weeks Surratt was to give a second lecture in Washington, but it was canceled because of public outrage. Surratt took a job as a teacher in St. Joseph Catholic School in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In 1872, Surratt married a second cousin of Francis Scott Key; the couple had seven children. Some time after 1872, he was hired by the Baltimore Steam Packet Company, he rose to freight auditor and treasurer of the company. Surratt retired from the steamship line in 1914 and died of pneumonia in 1916, at the age of 72.

He was buried in Baltimore. Surratt was portrayed by Johnny Simmons in the 2010 Robert Redfo