The true Empress Dowager Dou in history
Good morning everyone,today I'd like to introduce a person to you.Let's start it with a
riddle.After each piece of the information,you have one chance to guess :Who is she?
A.She was a famous empress dowager. B.She was an advocate of Taoism. C.She had assisted three emperors of different generations to handle affairs of state.
D.She was blind when she became the empress dowager.
Can you guess who is she?
Yes,she is Empress Dowager Dou.Through my watching the TV play called "Meirenxinji(美
人心计)" I got to research a lot about Empress Dowager Dou and have known deeply about
her.Welcome to my speech,ladies and gentlemen,and today I will show you a true Empress
Dowager Dou in history.By the end of my presentation,you will get to know that she is actually an
intelligent and capable woman,of course sometimes a dictator.
I'd like to start by introducing how she got the access to the imperial palace,and then I'll show
you how she became an empress from a lady in waiting,and finally I'll briefly comment on some
of her character.
Now let's start with her background.
Empress Dou was born in a poor family in Qinghe Hebei.Her father died accidentally
because of the war.At that time,she was young and was recruited into the palace to be a lady in
On one occasion,Empress Dowager Lv gave each prince five ladies in waiting as gifts to
monitor them in the dark,and Lady Dou was chosen for Liu Heng,the Prince of Dai.
Lady Dou was very clever and she know how to attract her husband Prince Dai.At the very
beginning she was only a lady in waiting,but afterwards,Prince Dai couldn't help himself falling in
love with her.Several days later,Lady Dou was pregnant and then gave birth to a girl and two
boys.After that,Lady Dou was conferred the title of the Empress.
Empress Dou had two brothers:Dou Zhangjun and Dou Shaojun.After their separation,the
two boys suffered a lot.And when they heard that the empress had the family name Dou and was
born in Qinghe ,they wrote a letter to her and wanted to reunion with her.Then,Empress Dou
reunioned with them and grangted them with lots of wealth.
Empress Dou was clever not only in love but also in politics.After Empress Dowager Lv had
died,she helped Liu Heng defeat all the people named Lv and through a long time of negotiation
finally got the throne.
In her later period of the empress,she got blind and became a strict follower of Taoism.
Little by little,they got old.In 157 BC,Emperor Wen died,and his son Liu Qi succeeded to the
throne as Emperor Jing,and Empress Dou became empress dowager.
Emperor Jing became heavily influenced by his mother both in terms of governing
philosophy and politics,and he largely continued his father's politics.Emperor Wen and Emperor
Jing both governed the country very well with the help of Dou,and today we call that time "the
reigns of Emperor Wen and Jing"(文景之治).
When Emperor Jing died in 141 BC,Empress Dowager Dou became grand empress dowager
and her grandson,Liu Che(刘彻) got the throne.
Six years later in 135 BC,Grand Empress Dowager Dou died,and she was buried with her
husband Emperor Wen.In her will,she left her possessions to her daughter,Princess Liu Piao.
This is the whole lifetime of Empress Dowager Dou.
She was one of the earliest politically dominating female figures in Chinese history.She was intelligent,she was capable,she was fond of state affairs and she was even a dictator.Despite she had some shortcomings,she is still viewed positively,for her impact on her husband and her son,and even the consequent to the people.