CHINA’S SEARCH FOR
From Chaos to Unification
Period of the Warring States
• Lasted from 403 – 221 B.C.E.
• There were seven powerful
states vying for domination.
• Largest territory
• Most Powerful
• The state of Qin eventually
conquered them all bringing
the Period of the Warring
States to an end.
The Search for Order During the Chaos
• During the Period of the Warring States, people desired and
sought social and political order.
• Some people withdrew from society.
• Concerned themselves only with their individual tranquility
• Some people searched for order within society.
• Considered the proper roles of people in society
• Explored philosophical systems as a possible means of restoring
• There were three main philosophical systems that
gained importance in China during this time.
• These philosophies greatly influenced China’s culture
in two ways.
• Political traditions
• Cultural traditions
• Founded by Kong Fuzi (551-479 B.C.E.)
• Emphasized morality and leading by
• He sought to create junzi, individuals
who were well educated with
• He hoped that by creating junzi, they
would gain influence and become
leaders, bringing order and morality
to the government and people of China.
• Aside from his political beliefs, he also
emphasized morality and ethics which are
represented in the virtues of Confucianism.
Virtues of Confucianism
• Filial piety
• Respecting your parents and family elders
• Taking care of them
• Supporting them in old age
• Honoring them after death
• Correct behavior
Virtues of Confucianism (cont’d)
• Doing your best
• Consideration for others
Virtues of Confucianism (cont’d)
“To be able under all circumstances to practice five things
constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity
of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness.”
- Kong Fuzi, also known as Confucius
• Founded by Laozi (6th century B.C.E.)
• Emphasizes inaction and harmony
• Daosists believe that less government is
better and do not involve themselves
• Main focuses of Daoism
• Health and longevity
• The relationship between humanity
and the cosmos
• Achieving harmony with the universe
Virtues of Daoism
• The main virtue of Daoism
• Translates as “without action” or “action through inaction”
• The “Three Treasures” or “Three Jewels”
• Wei tianxia xian
• Translates “Not dare to be first in the world”
• Founders were Shang Yang, Han Feize and other Legalists
(390 B.C.E. – 338 B.C.E.)
• Did not address ethics or morality
• Emphasized military and agriculture as the main
contributors to a state’s strength
• Legalism philosophy had tools instead of
Tools of Legalism
• Translates as “law or principle”
• Law must be made public.
• Laws must be clearly understandable.
• Laws should reward or punish according to behavior.
• All people under the law must be treated the same in accordance with it.
• Translates “method, tactic or art”
• The ruler must keep secrets to ensure that others do not take control.
• The ruler must keep his motivations hidden so that they can not be used
by people to advance within the organization.
Tools of Legalism (cont’d)
• Translates “legitimacy, power or charisma”
• The position holds the power, not the ruler.
• The ruler must analyze trends, context and facts to keep his power
• The people of China mainly concentrated on three philosophical
systems in their efforts to bring political and social order to the
chaos during the Period of The Warring States.
• Confucianists sought to attain order through activism.
• Daoists sought order through inactivity.
• Legalists sought to bring about order through governmental control and
• In the end, it was Legalism that ended the Period of the Warring
States and Unified China.