Confucian Perspective and Critique Qin Rule The state of Qin founded the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC and became supreme in China after defeating its rivals. The first Emperor of Qin dynasty was Qin Shi Huang who adopted legalism ultimate governing idea of the Qin Dynasty…
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This paper seeks to adopt a Confucian perspective and criticize Qin rule. The paper will analyze the rapid decline of Qin’s rule, identify what Confucians objected about Qin’s rule, and explain why Confucianism was seemingly a better ruling ideology. According to legalism in the Qin Dynasty, the law was referenced and available to the public where all before the Emperor were equal under the law. Legalism sought to reward law-abiding citizens and punish lawbreakers severely. Actually, the Qin implemented corporal punishments and sentenced legal offenders to hard labor for the state. As such, legalism ran the state and not the emperor. Nevertheless, the Confucian scholars who were victims of legalism had detailed information on Chinese history including the Qin Dynasty and had great impact on other cultures like the Korean culture. Confucianism is an aspect of philosophy emanating from the teachings of Confucius (551 - 479 BC). As such, Confucianism was a formidable force in Chinese political and social history. Indeed, Confucianism main aim was to train its followers on traditional rituals, respect for authority, loyalty, flexibility of leaders, respect for the aged, and benevolence. Therefore, Confucianism promoted a tradition of “humane authority.” However, Confucianism faced support and equally opposition from various scholars. In fact, while some scholars like Lu Xun accused it of limiting modernization, others like Kang Yuwei used it to for Chinese nationalism. In the 19th century, the influence of Confucianism declined as Qing Dynasty ended in 1911. In the later dynasties, legalism fell and consistently merged with Confucianism to play central roles in the Chinese government. Most assuredly, Qin Shi Huang incurred opposition from Confucian historians and consequently becoming one of the shortest-lived dynasties in Chinese history. According to Morton and Lewis, “Qin Shi Huang Di, the First Emperor, incurred the disapproval of Confucian historians and in actuality was in many ways a ruthless tyrant” (Morton and Lewis 46). The Rapid Decline of Qin’s Rule The Qin Dynasty existed between 256-202 B.C.E. The Qin Dynasty settled in the North where it initiated reforms and created a powerful army using horse archers to form a powerful state. The first emperor of Qui Dynasty was Qin Shi Huang and ruled via legalism. Most assuredly is the fact that Shih Huang Ti was a very efficient and unifying leader in ancient China. Nevertheless, his rule lasted for the shortest time because of his harsh leadership style. Uniquely, Qin chose to break the China's old provinces and loyalties and created others under the leadership of non-hereditary governors. This was a blatant mistake, as the governors had no capacity to accumulate power in one place through different generations as sought in Chinese culture. It is equally true that although Qin initiated many effective projects in ancient China, these projects required a lot of taxes and human labor from the Chinese people that was against their will and ability. Indeed, he forced the ordinary people to work on his projects with harsh and cruel punishments muted on the people. As such, though the projects were viable, they made his rule very unpopular among the poor citizens. Moreover, Qin initiated and completed the Great Wall of China (Morton and Lewis 45-46). However, this wall had huge costs on human lives from hunger,
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