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Legalism in Ancient China
Transcript of Legalism in Ancient China
"If the people are stronger than the government, the state is weak; if the government is stronger than the people, the army is strong." -Chapter 2, Paragraph 5 of The Book of Lord Shang, pg 109 of J.J.-L. Duyvendak, 1928 Teachings Legalism didn't consist of any 'rituals,' but more like practices. Within their strict society and law, they worshiped their leaders and the law. As for practicing through actions, the authority of Legalism at the time would burn any book, poem, or any text that went against legalism or showed otherwise in a fire. They would also burn scholars, as in people, if they did not give up their libraries. Rituals Legalism was meant to support the emperor, military,and the state. The emperor and his advisers restricted freedom of speech and religious freedom.
The Legalists represent the antithesis of Confucian thinking.
The emperor forced citizens to act appropriate against their will.
The creativity, intelligence, free thinking, and emotional responses were stifled during the time that legalistic thinking prevailed in China.
Citizens were very afraid of speaking their opinion in fear of being put to death.Although the legalistic system was harsh it was possible for someone to advance in social rank. This was possible if they performed well at their occupation. Societal Influence/Impact on Society Civilians did not like the idea of Legalism because they received harsh treatment from the people who had power. It was believed that people did not need to read, and that the only guidance they needed was the series of laws that governed the country. View of Government Bibliography