Mandate of Heaven

Topics: Tang Dynasty, Sui Dynasty, Emperor Taizong of Tang Pages: 2 (501 words) Published: November 14, 2011
The Mandate of Heaven and

How it affected Dynasties through China’s History

The Mandate of Heaven and

How it affected Dynasties through China’s History

The Mandate of Heaven is a traditional Chinese concept concerning the legitimacy of rulers. The Mandate of Heaven postulates that heaven would bless the authority of a just ruler, as defined by the Five Confucian Relationships, but would be displeased with a bad ruler and would withdraw its mandate, leading the overthrow of that ruler. The Mandate of Heaven would then transfer to those who would rule best. The Mandate of Heaven does not require that a ruler be of noble birth, and people of modest birth sometimes founded dynasties ("Mandate of Heaven." 2011). The concept of the Mandate of Heaven was first used to support the rule of the kings of the Zhou Dynasty and their overthrow of the earlier Shang Dynasty. It was used throughout the history of China to support the rule of the Emperors. The Mandate is a well-accepted and popular idea among the people of China, as it argues for the removal of incompetent rulers and provided an incentive for rulers to rule well. Philosophers and scholars in ancient China as a way to avoid the abuse of power by the ruler often used the concept, and in many ways had no other way to regulate this power. The Zhou Dynasty used the Mandate to overthrow Xin as he acted atrociously toward his people and doted on his imperial concubine. The tribe of Zhou finally defeated him. This concept is first found in the written records by Duke of Zhou, younger brother of King Wu of Zhou (online). He is considered by many to have been the originator of the idea. The Duke of Zhou explained to the people of Shang that if their king had not misused his power, his Mandate would not have been taken away. The Shang had legitimized their rule by family connections to divine power and heaven was thought to interact and interfere with earthly rule already,...
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