Chapter 21 continued
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Chapter 21 Continued. The Zhou Dynasty. 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.

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Chapter 21 Continued

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Chapter 21 continued

Chapter 21 Continued

The Zhou Dynasty


Overthrowing the shang

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

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

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

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.


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