Qin rulers build a powerful state which was ultimately expanded

The Qin, a semi-barbarian people who were not Han Chinese, were able to build a powerful state which ultimately expanded to become the first Chinese empire. In spite of the apparent odds against such a state defeating all other powerful kingdoms and uniting China in 221 BCE, the Qin succeeded brilliantly. Why was this?

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...(Chao Hsiang) embraced the Legalist philosophy and was committed to military supremacy at any cost. Extreme punishment ensured the total subservience of all the people, as he remorselessly crushed and destroyed all opposition. This total commitment to military success was a factor in Qin's rise to power, as was Zhao Xiang's military prowess, but they would not have maintained such force without the long period of stability in leadership during the 56 year reign of Zhao Xiang. A further long and important period of dynastic stability for Qin began with the rule of King Zheng (Cheng) in 247 BCE. He ultimately became First Emperor. He is described as guiding his forces to a series of stunning victories. Thus Qin had the benefit of brilliant military men as its rulers, and was not hampered by a series of succession crises such as those that weakened her rivals. Qin was innovative, and happy to experiment with new techniques in politics, economics and social engineering. There is some archaeological evidence that Qin was the first to use steel weapons, although the mausoleum of Qin Shihuang Di has revealed only bronze. Bronze may have been preferable for ceremonial weapons - or maybe old bronze weapons were pensioned off by being buried with the Emperor.

There were also a lot of changes to the techniques of warfare and Qin were to the forefront in this. The aristocratic warrior in a chariot with a supporting rabble of ill-trained infantry disappeared, to ...