Chinese Legalism Essay

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Chinese Ethical Philosophies during the Classical Period This essay examines how Qin Penal Laws reflect the main elements of Legalism and why such beliefs were significant to the Classical Chinese society during the Classical Period. Ideally, Legalism reached its pinnacle in the late 3rd century during the era of the First Emperor of China, when King Zheng of Qin ended the subjugation of “All under Heaven” and formed the First Chinese Empire in 221 BCE (Andrea and Overfield, 2001). King Zheng forced a uniformity of law in the entire empire, which was administered by a bureaucracy that was accountable to the central authority. Visualizing an empire that would exist for centuries, King Zheng majestically styled himself as the Qin Shi Huangdi. The…show more content…
Individuals assigned the responsibility of overseeing prisoner activities supervised such workers. The workers were forbidden from entering the market and were to use alternative routes as opposed to passing through the market. During the period when offenders worked for the government, female convicts were given one and a half bushels of grain while the men received two every month. Convicts who were not working were not given anything. Other workers were given bushels of grains, according to the stipulated policies by the administration. Legalism led to unrestricted government authority, where the ruler needed to be strong and consider the right of the people (Lockard, 2010). The main objective of the Legalists was to maintain stability and unity. Although the Legalists maintained a long-term impact on the politics of China, the Chinese always offset its effects with more humane ideas of the Daoists and the Confucians. During the Classical Era, the Chinese did not follow the philosophy of one concept to the exclusion of others. Legalism became the last major political philosophy to develop during the Classical period in China (Stearns, 2014).

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