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The Emperor of the Shang Emperor was the sole king of the region, but there were other people of the aristocratic classes that would help govern and micromanage the other mini city-states.  The Yellow (Huang He) River was fundamental for the unity of the kingdom. After all, that is why there could be civilizations around there; the river was crucial for the water supply of the Shang Dynasty.

The ruler was often very distant from the people, both physically and politically. The ruler was usually very distinct in power and they had to be worshipped like gods. Because of substantial growth in this time, the capital of the Shang Dynasty was moved several times. This was the first time that the ruler actually got funded by taxes by people, which meant that he had a tax collection system. The rest of the aristocrats had to collect the taxes from the common people and send them to the king while gaining some percent of the tax.

There were many vast technological achievements such as the creation of bronze tools and the development of metallurgy. However, the making of tools made out of bronze or other materials needed lots of peasants and required a lot of skill and labor. The emperor burials were especially well decorated and detailed compared to the peasant burials; the emperor burials had large tombs have been excavated revealing massive amounts of jade, bronze, and ceramic art. There were also crafts for the military men, such as new spears and new weapons made of bronze. There were also bronze chariots that helped in wars. Essentially, it took a lot of menial labor and skill to complete such tasks, especially the tombs and the tools for the armies.

The Shang dynasty had relatively equal power within most of the people in the aristocratic classes, but the emperor was the only one in the aristocratic classes that had power over the aristocratic class. The ruler only needed to demand the aristocratic classes to give him the taxes and do whatever the emperor commanded.

The dynasty flourished through the reign of the ninth emperor. During the rule of the tenth emperor, however, the Shang Dynasty was starting to get weaker and there were multiple attempts by the emperor's own family to overthrow him and take command of the kingdom. Social problems began to emerge and the emperor's power gradually weakened.

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