Legalism 1314

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Legalism 1314

  1. 1. Legalism: Ends and Means World History, 9 St. Anne’s-Belfield
  2. 2. “The ends justify the means.” “For that reason, [if] a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody…” -Niccolo Machiavelli
  3. 3. Continuity: Ends ! ✔ In terms of historical context, what did Legalism have in common with Confucianism? ! ✔ In terms of ends, what did Legalism have in common with Confucianism?
  4. 4. Key Legalist Concept I: View of Human Nature • What was the Confucian view of human nature? What were the means of Confucianism? How would these means be implemented? What view of human nature is revealed by Confucian means? •What appears to be the Legalist view of human nature? PEOPLE ARE INHERENTLY BAD AND DRIVEN BY SELFISH DESIRES! Historically, on what was this view of human nature based?
  5. 5. Key Legalist Concepts II: Means Rejection of Confucian Morality (Goodness) 1. Legalists believed that morality was based on selfish, individual motives 2. Filial piety undermines a powerful military structure How could Confucian morality be used for selfish gain? – Why would this be true? Instills a sense of shame so that you won’t dishonor law and propriety –Useless to try to educate people in morality; they’ll just be selfish !
  6. 6. Key Legalist Concepts III: Means The Concept of Law ✔ Stability required rule by law Instead of morality, and a powerful state Legalists emphasized the – According to Legalists, what importance of harsh and did the establishment and maintenance of a strong state inflexible law enforced by a and rule by law require? powerful ruler as the only ✔ Ruler considered the cornerstone of means of achieving an stability ✔ Ruler->rule by law-> prosperous society orderly, strong state->stability
  7. 7. The Basics of Legalism 1.Humans are inherently evil and driven by selfish desires 2.Confucian morality does not work to establish and maintain order 3.Strict laws and harsh punishments are necessary to create and maintain order.
  8. 8. Shih Huang Ti is #17 in Michael Hart s The 100. What argument does Hart make to justify Shih Huang Ti?
  9. 9. What steps were taken by Shih Huang Ti to unify and return peace, order, and stability to China?
  10. 10. Do the ends justify the means of curtailing freedoms, strict laws and harsh punishments?
  11. 11. Which view on human nature is correct-the Confucian view that people are innately good or the Legalist view that humans are evil and driven by selfish desire?
  12. 12. 17, Shih Huang Ti from The 100 by Michael Hart The great Chinese emperor Shih Huang Ti, who ruled from 238-210BC, united China by force of arms and instituted a set of sweeping reforms. These reforms have been a major factor in the cultural unity that China has maintained ever since. Shih Huang Ti (also known as Ch’in) was born in 259BC and died in 210BC. To understand his importance, it is necessary to have some knowledge of the historical background of his times. He was born in the final years of the Chou Dynasty, which had been founded about 1100BC. Centuries before his time, however, the Chou monarchs had ceased to be effective rulers, and China had become divided into a large number of feudal states. The various feudal lords were constantly at war with one another, and gradually, several of the smaller rulers were eliminated. One of the most powerful of the warring states was Ch’in, in the western portion of the country. The Ch’in rulers had adopted ideas of the Legalist school of Chinese philosophers; this was the basis of state policy. Confucius had suggested that men should be governed primarily by moral example of a good ruler; but according to the Legalist philosophy, most men were not good enough to be ruled in that way and could only be controlled by a strict set of laws firmly established and impartially enforced. Laws were made by the ruler and could be changed at his pleasure to further state policy. Possibly because of their adoption of Legalist ideas, possibly because of their geographical position, or possibly because of the capability of the Ch’in rulers, that state had already become the most powerful of the Chinese states at the time that Cheng (the future Shih Huang Ti) was born. Nominally, Cheng ascended the throne in 246BC at the age of thirteen but in fact, a regent governed until Cheng came of age in 238BC. The new monarch chose able generals and vigorously prosecuted the wars against the remaining feudal states. The last of these were conquered in 221BC, and he could now have declared himself Wang (king) of all China. To emphasize, however, the complete break he was making with the past, he chose a new titles, and called himself “Shih Huang Ti”, which means “the first emperor”.

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