Legalism and Confucianism

Essay by ayeitsjosephA, November 2014

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Joseph Martinez


Legalism and Confucianism were both forms of solutions to the many problems China had. Legalism though was only a short time, it set the foundation for written laws. Confucianism on the other hand was really just centered on respect and education. Legalism was just a way to solve a problem. Confucianism was a way of life. Both belief systems also have diverse ideas on what is the meaning of life. Both belief systems were very different in the aspects of Social mobility, Importance Chinese history and poetry (Education), Relationships between individuals in society, and even the role of the government.

The two major belief systems of China consist of Legalism and Confucianism, the major problem both were to set out and fix was disorder. Legalism was a system based on punishments and rewards. "If rewards are high then what the ruler wants will be quickly effected, if punishments are heavy then what he doesn't want will be prevented."

Confucianism took a very different approach to issue on disorder it was based on the moral example of superiors, was the Confucian key to a fix. For Confucius there was a hierarchy, called the five relationships where someone was always superior to another and the only equal relationship was a friend to a friend. Legalist believed that the government should basically think for everyone because humans were "stupid" and that only the state and its ruler can act in the long term aspect. Government was extremely important in Confucianism. A ruler had to be good in order for his subjects to be good and obey him. Legalism focused so strongly on law breaking that there were even spies. Confucians believed history and poetry are educational resources and people can study them to further educate themselves. Confucianism was...