Confuncianism and Legalism Essay

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The Rulers of ancient China and its governments were greatly influenced by the belief systems they were based upon. Confucianism was used in the rule of Han Wudi in the Han dynasty and Legalism was shown in the Qin Dynasty by the ruler Shi Huangdi.The way that a government uses their belief system could help or hinder the way it functions and it could influence the way a ruler acts upon its subjects. Legalism was one of the ways Chinese rulers were able to unite and restore order in China. The Qin Dynasty and its leaders used the teachings of Shang Yang to strengthen their country and unify the people. The legalists believed that having an efficient and strong government would bring social order. An ideal ruler in the legalists mind was someone who used law to keep order and rewarded those who carried out their roles in society correctly. Also the ruler should punish those who were noncompliant. One distinguished leader of the Qin and legalist rule was Shi Huangdi who defeated all the opposition that came his way. He stopped anyone who wished to invade China and subsequently doubled the size of China. He also punished anyone who got in his way in the homeland. He murdered many confucian scholars to keep his popularity. His punishments were very harsh and led to unpopularity among everyone, similar to the tang punishment.(Doc # 3). This led to people obeying his orders. that is one very important part of legalist thinking. The building of the Great wall was begun under his rule. He overworked peasants to build the wall and protect from the northern invaders(doc # 5). Thousands of these peasant workers were killed in the building of the wall. The harsh conditions under his rule became unfavorable by many and led the Qin dynasty to a short rule. after Shi Huangdi's death his son came to power and was a weak leader. Peasants rebelled 3 years later and the Qin fell.
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