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Confucius
and China
Introduction
• Around 1027 BC, a people called the
Zhou overthrew the Shang and
established a dynasty in China
• To justify their abrupt rise to power, the
Zhou leaders declared that the Shang
King had been such a poor ruler that the
gods had taken away their power and
given it to the Zhou
• This justification is called Mandate of
Heaven
–The idea that the authority to rule comes
from heaven
Then what???
• The Zhou dynasty lasted for 8 centuries
until their decline
• However, their harsh rule did not leave
without lasting consequences
• While they were in power, China had
begun to move away from their
traditional values of social order,
harmony, and respect for authority
• What were they to do?
Then came
Confucius…
• He was China’s most influencial scholar
• He was born during that time of crisis
and rebellion in China
• He believed that social order, harmony,
and good government could be restored
in China if society were organized
around 5 basic relationships…
•
•
•
•
•
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
ruler and subject
father and son
husband and wife
older brother and younger brother
friend and friend
• Three of these 5 relationships were
based on family
• He stressed that children should
practice respect for their parents and
ancestors
• They should devote themselves to
their parents during their lifetime and
honor their memory upon their death
Confucius and
Government
• He wanted to reform Chinese government
and teach them how to govern wisely
• He believed that education could transform a
person
• He laid the groundwork for the first
bureaucracy
– A government system run by people
trained in civil service - (government
employees)
• Education became an important part in
the advancement of a persons career
What is Confucianism?
• It was never a religion
• It is an ethical system based on
accepted principles of right and wrong
• It became the foundation for Chinese
government
• His ideas spread throughout eastern
Asia