Having himself come from a peasant family, Hong Wu emperor knew very well how much farmers suffered under the gentry and the wealthy. Many of the latter, using influence with magistrates, not only encroached on the land of farmers, but also by bribed sub-officials to transfer the burden of taxation to the small farmers they had wronged. To prevent such abuses the Hongwu Emperor instituted two very important systems: "Yellow Records" and "Fish Scale Records," which served to guarantee both the government's income from land taxes and the people's enjoyment of their property.
Armies during the early Han period were generally recruited through conscription or the obligatory recruitment of people for military services. Once a male commoner turns twenty-three, he is required to undergo a year of training and another year of service as a non-professional soldier. The minimum age for conscription was later reduced to twenty. Training could be done in the infantry, cavalry, or the navy branch of the armed forces. Once the trainee becomes a soldier in active service he can be assigned in one of the three posts during that period; in a king’s court, on the frontier or under the Minister of the guards.