Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism

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In ancient China, many different rulers tried to unify and rule the country using a variety of methods – Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism to name a few. Each philosophy had its own set of rules of how people should act both in public and privately. The overall goal of each philosophy was to set a standard of acceptable living that would ensure harmony and success for the society. However, each was different and thus had different results. The best way for the people of China to succeed in a harmonious, respectable society occurred when both Confucianism and Legalism were combined. Confucianism resulted from a Chinese philosopher named Kongfuzi (551-479 B.C.E), also known as Confucius, becoming disheartened with the way the government ignored his ideas of how to create a just, harmonious society. His teachings, which he had passed on to his followers/students, include the Analects. It is within this document that he tried to teach men how to be gentlemen. If a man were able to follow the steps to becoming a gentleman and complete the duties of his status, that gentleman could influence others in society to be honorable, hard working, honest, and just. However, within Confucianism, class and gender was a huge factor. Women were often considered less important as were lower class peoples. Only the well off male members of society could receive the required education required to be a gentleman. An example of this is: “The Master said, A gentleman who is widely versed in letters and at the same time knows how to submit his learning the restraints of ritual is not likely, I think, to go far wrong.” As Confucianism required people to act a certain way in public, Daoism required them to act in private, individual way in order to influence harmony in society. Daoism itself follows “The Way”, a mysterious force that requires people to behave in such a way to keep the universe in balance. Daoism is considered to be non-conformist in that each person should live their...
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