2 China’s Social SystemThere were 3 main Social Classes found in Early China.1 Landowning aristocratsLarge estates, big houses, the nicest stuff, protected by big walls.Land was split between sons so each generation got less and less land.2. Peasant farmers9 out of 10 Chinese were farmers.Without them, the aristocrats made no money.3. MerchantsWhile usually richer than other classes, they were the lowest because it was not cool to be concerned with money in Early China.
3 The Chinese Family Family is extremely important to the Chinese. They had big families so they could have enough workers.They always took care of each other, no matter what.Filial PietyChildren have to respect their parents and older relativesThe Head of the Family (oldest male) made all of the decisions and his needs came first.As usual, the man’s work was more important than the woman’s.
4 China’s PhilosophiesThe Chinese are a very power hungry group of people.Towards the end of the Zhou dynasty violence and fighting was very normal.Armies would destroy whole villages, including the women and children.All of this fighting caused many Chinese to look to different ways of restoring order and peace.Three major philosophies about how to create a peaceful society emerged during this time.Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism
5 Confucianism Confucius grew up in a rural village in China. He became China’s 1st great thinker and teacher.Confucius’ Teachings:I. Sense of DutyPut the needs of the family and community 1st.Parents owe their children love, children owe their parents respect.The rulers must be the best example of this.If a ruler thought about the common good, he would be respected and society would prosper.II. Seek KnowledgeThe more you know, the better off you will be.
6 Confucianism III. The Golden Rule IV. Intelligence over Birth Do unto others as you would have done unto you.IV. Intelligence over BirthConfucius taught that just because you were born an aristocrat, that doesn’t mean you were born to be a rulerHe taught that any man, regardless of social class, that has a talent for leading and governing should be given the opportunity to do so.At the time, the Chinese leaders didn’t like these ideas. This could be because they were all aristocrats. However, over time Confucius’ teachings became the basis for Chinese government.During the Han Dynasty, the Civil Service Exam that all government officials had to pass was based on Confucius.
7 Daoism Based on the teachings of Laozi (pronounced Lowd-zoo)Also called the Old MasterThese teachings can be found in the book “The Way of the Dao”Teachings of DaoismI. Give up your worldly desiresTurn to nature and the DaoDao is the force that guides all things.II. Inner peaceDon’t worry about the rest of the world.Seek inner peace and live in harmony with nature.This part is opposite from Confucianism.
8 Legalism Legalism is called the “School of Law” Developed by Hanfeizi (pronounced han-fay-dzoo)The Qin rulers were followers of this school of thoughtTeachings of LegalismI. People are EvilPeople are born evil, whether they like it or not.II. Kindness is for BabiesThe only way to control evil people is with strong laws and harsh punishments.Aristocrats liked this because it allowed them to use as much power and force as they wanted.Cruelty and strong rule are the only way to maintain an orderly society.