By way of comparison

by Nathan Hamm on 5/1/2005

Note: Posting will potentially be light from me in the near term. Some of you know what’s up and the rest may soon. It’s nothing exciting or positive. Maybe more soon. So, in the meantime, enjoy an excerpt of what I’m currently reading.

In American terms, the accomplishment of Genghis Khan might be understood if the United States, instead of being created by a group of educated merchants or wealthy planters, had been founded by one of its illiterate slaves, who, by sheer force of personality, charisma, and determination liberated America from foreign rule, united the people, created an alphabet, wrote the constitution, established universal religious freedom, invented a new system of warfare, marched an army from Canada to Brazil, and opened roads of commerce in a free-trade zone that stretched across the continents. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination and tax the resources of scholarly explanation.

An abbreviated list of those accomplishments:

  • Consolidated small principlaities into larger states.
  • Replaced a system of feudal privilege with one of “merit, loyalty, and achievement.”
  • Created a vast free-trade zone, lowered taxes for everyone, and abolished taxes for doctors, teachers, priests, and schools.
  • Created the first international postal system.
  • Insisted on the primacy of the law
  • Established religious freedom in his realm.
  • Granted diplomatic immunity to all ambassadors and envoys including those representing states with which he was at war.

His descendants ruled states across Eurasia until the emir of Bukhara was deposed in 1920.

I can’t stress enough what a joy this book is to read.


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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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