The Daoism and the Confucianism in Han Dynasty Essay examples

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The Daoism and the Confucianism in Han Dynasty
Yang Yu
History 135: Imperial Chinese History
Professor: Robert J. Culp
Paper I
March 4th, 2011

The Daoism and the Confucianism in Han Dynasty As the dominant philosophical school for around two thousand years in Chinese imperial history, Confucianism is always regarded as the most representative ideology of China, associated with numerous books, poems, artworks and stories that glorify Confucianism’s permeation into every corner of Chinese society. However, before Han Wudi, Confucianism was only one of those competing philosophical schools founded in Spring and Autumn period. During the Warring States period and Qin dynasty, Legalism took place of all other philosophical schools
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One man that precipitated the predominance of Confucianism in Han dynasty is Dong Zhongshu (c.179-104 BC). With the great support from Wudi, Dong started the reform of proscribing all non-Confucian schools and espousing Confucianism as the orthodox state ideology (罢黜百家, 独尊儒术). In order to adapt Confucianism to centralized politics, Wudi filled his administration with Confucian scholars and kept all other schools from the mainstream—Confucianism. According to Dong, the heaven dominated everything in this world and the emperor was the son of the heaven, or in other words, the representative of the heaven. Everyone should conform to the will of the emperor, or the heaven would punish the disobeyers; accordingly, the emperor should also fulfill his duty properly, or he would disturb the balance of heaven and earth, hence cause “floods, earthquakes, and other natural calamities” (79). Dong’s adapted Confucianism was the expansion of the Mandate of Heaven (天命), and “these ideas became intrinsic to imperial ideology, never publicly questioned even in later dynasties” (79). This is also one reason why Confucianism dominated Chinese imperial history for around two thousand years. Dong’s reform helped Wudi achieve the grand unification (大一统) throughout the country. The adapted Confucianism proved to be suitable for Wudi’s centralization of authority because it highlighted the moral basis of superior-subordinate relations; in other words, it