What Is an Imperial Bureaucracy?

An imperial bureaucracy is a government administration constituted to carry out imperial policies in all regions of the empire. One prominent example of such a bureaucracy is the one that China adopted during the Han Dynasty.

An imperial bureaucracy is an important tool that allows the emperor or empress to maintain a cohesive culture throughout an ethnically diverse polity. The administrators representing the central power can carry out imperial policy and make sure local elites’ allegiances are not straying. The Chinese used such a bureaucracy for thousands of years to bind together their massive empire, as did the Byzantines, the Persians and the British.