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By Cindy Jenson-Elliott

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But the constant threat of Mongol invasions on the northern border led to what is perhaps the Ming’s greatest monument: the Great Wall of China. Although many walls 63 The Great Wall of China, started in an earlier era, is most closely associated with the Ming Dynasty. Millions of peasants built the Ming wall, which separated China from the Mongols of the north. had been built over nearly two thousand years of Chinese history, the Ming wall is perhaps the best known and the most intact of all previous walls.

Bias was also a concern. Tang Dynasty examiners tried to prevent bias by covering the candidate’s name on the examination paper before it was graded. Under the Song Dynasty, exam answers were recopied by a government worker so no one could recognize the test taker’s handwriting. For centuries wealthy and well-connected families had managed to place their sons into positions of power, regardless of how they fared on the civil service exams. Whereas military service was a way of rising in social class in many dynasties, scholarship soon also became a means of improving oneself, even for those of lowly birth.

Genghis Khan B orn in 1167, Genghis Khan, then known as Temüjin, was the son of a Mongol clan leader who was killed when the boy was young. Like all Mongol boys, Temüjin learned the skills needed to be a fierce warrior: horseback riding, archery from horseback, and wrestling. Enslaved by rival clans for much of his childhood and young adulthood, Temüjin escaped and went on to unify the Mongol clans. He challenged clan leaders across the steppes, attacking rival clans in an effort to bring the entire region under his control.

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