Presentation on theme: "The Zhou Dynasty Chapter 21 Continued. Overthrowing the Shang Around 1045 B.C.E., during the Shang Dynasty, the Zhou, a group of people from northwestern."— Presentation transcript:
Overthrowing the Shang Around 1045 B.C.E., during the Shang Dynasty, the Zhou, a group of people from northwestern China moved into the central plains. They claimed that the Shang Dynasty was far too cruel and launched a rebellion against them led by their king, Wu Wang. To justify his actions, Wu Wang claimed that he had been given the Mandate of Heaven, a divine right to rule China.
Mandate of Heaven According to this belief, Heaven was a power that controlled human destiny. The king was the son of Heaven. As long as the king governed well, Heaven gave him the right to rule. However, if he did not govern well, Heaven would send warning signs like earthquakes and floods. This was a signal that others had the right to overthrow him.
Feudalism The Zhou increased the stability of their rule through feudalism, a system where the king gave large pieces of land to lords who supported him. The lords were rulers of their own lands and had absolute power over the peasants who worked as tenant farmers on the land. In exchange, the lords sent soldiers to fight if the king was attacked.
The System Breaks Down Feudalism worked for a time to keep China stable, but by the 700s B.C.E., it was beginning to fail. The lords of individual states became more powerful and ambitious and began to fight one another. These wars brought some 250 years of disorder to China which is often called the Period of Warring States. This would eventually cause people to look for new ways to restore order and pave the way for a new dynasty to take over.