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Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism
Amidst the chaos of political instability and constant warring of the Zhou era, arose many intellectual thinkers that brought such a profound impact in the fields of politics, religion, and philosophy. Even to this day, their influence can be seen on the many matters of China. Confucianism became the paramount school of thinking and later significant philosophies such as Daoism and Legalism gained immense recognition as well. Each party had their own proposals for creating an idealistic political society where the many problems they faced in their everyday lives could be eliminated. All three approaches were very distinct but at the same time, they contained similarities as well. In my reasoning, I find that Confucianism and Daoism could be paralled in many ways to find several common grounds. On the other hand, Legalism goes on to take a more unique approach which was much different from the previous two.
Confucius was born in 551 B.C.E, to a poor family of the lower nobility. Throughout his life, he relentlessly tried to gain an office with a prominent ruler of the time who was willing to adopt his various concepts. Unfortunately, Confucius died in 479B.C.E., before such a change ever took place. However, he succeeded in winning over a handful of devote followers who continued his legacy and Confucianism later went on to become one of the most influential thought systems of Chinese history. Of his followers, Mencius and Xunzi became one of the most renown. Since Confucius did not succeed in completing a manual of his views, these followers had to derive their own interpretations of the system, which now formulate, the Analects. The Analects portray an idealized gentleman, and his various duties in terms of the society, family and rituals. Confucius explains about the way (Dao) which he believed, that if the people accepted its terms and were willing to abide, they would succeed in creating a utopian society.
By the beginning of the Common Era, another philosophy emerges and gains wide acceptance among the commoners. Daoism, just like the predecessor and also as the name implies, puts emphasis on the way that a certain individual is to abide to. Even though the two systems had different concepts about the way, the common denominator of both schools was to achieve total harmony in society. Confucianism focuses mainly on social order while Daoism puts its central; focus on being one with the nature.
If an individual can practice five things anywhere in the world, he is a man of humanity...reverence, generosity, truthfulness, diligence and kindness (Ebrey 19). Confucius gentleman has to possess these fine qualities to achieve success. On the other side of the token, Daoism emphasized the need for similar entities. Laozi explains: For minds, the depth is good. In social relations, human-heartedness is good. In speaking, the trustworthiness is good. In government order is good (Ebrey 28). Both systems, through through different approaches, promote peace and goodwill among the family, society and with neighboring states.
Both Confucianism and Daoism accept the presence of a supernatural entity but do not provide a clear explanation on it. Both thought systems consider it mostly as a mystery that the human mind cannot fully comprehend or alter. Confucius put great importance in conducting numerous rituals for various occasions. He found it to be an essential part for the well being of society. He said, when superiors love ritual, the people are easy to direct (Ebrey 22). Xunzi provides a more elaborate explanation. He said Ritual conduct is the perfection of decorum...Sages comprehend it, gentleman comfortably carries them out, officials preserves them and the common people consider them custom (Ebrey 25). The same sense of mystery or vagueness can be sensed in Daoism. Laozi said, The way that can be discussed is not the constant way...nameless is the source of Heaven and earth...Their identity can be called a mystery (Ebrey 27).
Both Confucianism and Daoism disfavored a harsh government. Confucius urged to lead the people with virtue and rituals as opposed to government policies and punishment. He believed that the ruler should gain respect through his deeds rather that achieving it through his status and authority. Likewise, Daoism disliked the emphasis of status being displayed in ... more
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The Roman Empire
The people were happy. This is the underlying cause of the astounding length of time and space that the Roman Empire occupied most of the known western land. Great rulers met their downfall when they put their own status in front of the well being of the people they govern. When the citizens are left high and dry and not regarded as important to their society then this is when there is an overthrow of power and a new ruler comes into play. Citizens had a place in politics, they have lots of entertainment, they had the best army in the world to protect them, and Rome was the place to live and would be that way for many years.
Many leaders come and go but it is the great ones that we remember, the ones that make people enjoy life. The emperors that are not approved by the people are the ones that turn a new leaf of evil once they have a military victory. The thrill of so much power gives them the urge to be the best in the world. They move on and conquer other nations and forget about their own people. Julius Caesar cared about his people and wanted to be the "ruler for the people," rather than the "ruler of the people." When he gain power of Rome from the hands of Pompey there was no reign of terror, but a policy to restore economic and prosperity to Rome. This period of time in Rome is known today as the golden age of Roman literacy and development. The minds of the people are expanding. Another example of the Roman citizens' happiness and prosperity comes during the rule of Caesar's grandson Octavian, better known to history as Augustus.
Once Augustus rises from the new triumvirate as the ruler of the empire, he introduces different types of social reform that appease the people and keep them on his side. Augustus is a classical man and wanted to bring back the ancient moral to the citizens. He reduced the size of the army and gave soldiers land and money. He imports food and gives it away to the people. Augustus transformed Rome from city of bricks to a city of marble by building temples and basilicas to represent his power as well as his love for the city that he takes care of. At this time people could see that society was prospering and times were great due to a great leader.
Shortly after the rule of Augustus the Colosseum is built under the rule of Vespasian and Titus, completed in 80A.D. The colosseum creates entertainment among the Roman citizens, which keeps them occupied for hundreds of years. The events at the colosseum captivate as well as surprise the citizens. They have never before seen anything like this. Everything from foreign beasts fighting criminals to naval battles on the flooded base of the giant structure. The Roman people became obsessed with this social activity that brought the whole city together. In the third century Emperor Caracalla extended Roman citizenship to every free person who lived in the within the empire. This status symbol could allow one to travel to the far reaches of the land without being harmed by foreign persons. These events in Roman history keep the people's moral high and their patriotism very strong, along with the protection of their superior army.
The Roman army was in charge of keeping the peace in the different nations taken over by Roman emperors. They formed strongholds at the borders of the empire to secure the citizens and keep them safe. Augustus' was a prime commander-in-chief. His
army consisted of 150,000 soldiers and roughly 130,000 auxiliary officers who were all noncitizens. After serving for twenty-four years they would receive citizenship. This imperial army would only grow in size over the next few centuries. Under Trajan the army had grown to about 400,000 soldiers. The army's ability to move across the empire made romanizing of the foreign nations easy. The army kept the empire secure from threatening outside nations and also brought the moral of the citizens to a high point. They were safe from invasion and safe ... more
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