The Impact Of Wang Mang

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Wang Mang was one of the most powerful figures of his day. As leader of China from nine to twenty three C.E, he preached the values of Confucianism to his people. However, Wang Mang was not a perfect Confucian himself. In some aspects of his life, specifically in his rise to power and in his demise, Wang Mang went against the core values of Confucianism, as well as the values and teaching of Li, Yi, and Chunzi, but his radical reforms, including banning slavery and redistributing land, indicate that he followed and cared about the values of Ren.
Wang Mang’s rise to power, through possible murder and treachery, did not follow the Confucian values of Yi and the Confucian basic beliefs of ethics. Wang Mang was born in 45 B.C into a wealthy family. From a young age, he was a known scholar and vigorously practiced Confucianism. As a young man, Wang Mang used his family’s influence to become a regent for many short-lived emperors. After the death and (likely murder) of the current king, Wang Mang seized the thrown from the Liu family, which had ruled for years. The fundamental goal of Confucianism is to create ethical ways in which to behave. Wang Mang’s abrupt overstep of power and aggression was a violation of this ethical standard. In his violent overthrow, Wang Mang disregards the Confucian value of Yi, which calls for sound judgment and teaches right from wrong. Yi, specifically, “may require people to forgo personal advantages to do what’s right.” Wang Mang chooses to ignore what is right in order to gain, “personal advantages”, and thus disregarded the law of Yi. Another important aspect of Confucianism is the five core relationships. These relationships served as a larger model for society, “If fathers are father and son...

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