Confucianism and Legalism

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Zalenski 2A
October 18, 2011

Confucianism and Legalism

Confucianism and Legalism were two philosophies developed by scholars as solutions to a period of disorder in China. Confucianism and Legalism are similar in that both originated during the Chinese Classical Period; however, they are different in government because Confucianism focuses on having an orderly, respectful, and successful ruler, while Legalism focuses on having an forceful and omnipotent ruler. In addition, education is extremely important in Confucianism, as opposed to the Legalist belief that people should never gain much knowledge.

Both Confucianism and Legalism were developed in China during the Classical Period as solutions to bring back peace and harmony to the area. After the decline of the Zhou dynasty, there was a breakdown of social order (The Period of Warring States), so Chinese scholars and philosophers looked for ways to bring back a state of order and peace. Two different schools of thought, Confucianism and Legalism, developed as ways to move China out of chaos and help it return to stability. Another philosophy, Daoism, is similar to Confucianism and Legalism because it was also developed during the Classical Period in China as a solution to the disorder.

The styles of governing found in Confucianism and Legalism differ greatly because Confucian government focuses on leading by example, while Legalist government focuses on having an all-powerful government in order to make sure people do not disrupt society for their own gain. Confucians believe that a ruler must be orderly, respectful, and successful in order for his subjects to obey him. This idea is due to their belief in The Five Relationships, one of which is between ruler and subject stating that subjects shall obey their ruler as long as the ruler respects the subjects. Legalist and Confucian beliefs are different on this matter because Legalists think that a ruler can do whatever he wishes regardless of...
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