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Chapter 2 Class Discussion Questions. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of classical Chinese society Trace the rise of Confucianism Identify the ways that Confucian philosophy supported the political structure in China Summarize why bureaucracy developed in classical China

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Chapter 2 Class Discussion Questions

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chapter 2 class discussion questions
Chapter 2Class Discussion Questions
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of classical Chinese society
  • Trace the rise of Confucianism
  • Identify the ways that Confucian philosophy supported the political structure in China
  • Summarize why bureaucracy developed in classical China
  • How was China able to accept two major belief systems, Confucianism and Daoism?
chapter 2

Chapter 2

Classical Civilization: China

chapter 23
Chapter Outline

Patterns in Classical China

Political Institutions

Religion and culture

Economy and Society

How Chinese Civilization Fits Together

Chapter 2
chapter 24
Kung Fuzi (Confucius) (551–478 B.C.E.)

wandering scholar


Ethical or Religious system?


Zhou Dynasty (1029–258 B.C.E.)

8th century B.C.E.


nomadic invasions

rival kingdoms

Shi Huangdi

Qin Dynasty (221–207 B.C.E.)

death leads to revolt

Han Dynasty (202 B.C.E.–220 C.E.)


China in the Shang and Zhou Eras

Chapter 2
chapter 25
Warring States Period (402 – 201 BCE)

Following death of Confucius, end of Zhou to beginning of Qin

Political and social disintegration

What led to this period? What was going on inside China?

Control of vassals under Zhou; internal rebellion, which leaves open to outside invaders

Chapter 2
chapter 26
Chapter 2
  • How do Chinese typically view their history as compared to other civilizations?
    • They have maintained clearest links to classical past
    • Look at history in terms of cycles rather than as progress from past to present; a dynastic cycle
    • 3 Big Ones from Classical China:
      • Zhou (1029 – 258 BCE)
      • Qin (221 – 202 BCE)
      • Han (202 BCE – 220 CE)
chapter 27
Patterns in Classical China

Zhou Dynasty (1029–258 B.C.E.)

height c. 700 B.C.E.

Yangzi River valley settled

"Middle Kingdom"

Mandate of Heaven


Chapter 2

China from the Later Zhou to the Han Era

chapter 28
Chapter 2
  • How did the Zhou contribute to the development of Chinese politics and culture in early centuries?
    • Extended territory of China – HOW?
      • Encourage settlers to move into Yangtze River Valley, creating China Proper, or the Middle Kingdom
    • Provided rich ag lands + benefits of 2 different agricultures
      • Wheat growing in north, rice in south – What did this encourage?
        • Population growth. Is this good for central rule?
          • No – complicates things. Comm and transport more difficult
          • However, claimed Mandate of Heaven as key justification of rule
    • Want greater cultural unity
      • Ban human sacrifice
        • Urge more restrained ceremonies to worship gods
      • Promote linguistic unity
chapter 29
Patterns in Classical China

Shi Huangdi (1st Emperor)

Qin Dynasty (221–207 B.C.E.)

Great Wall

3000 miles


Census – WHY?

standardized coinage, weights, measures

common writing system

More centralized gov’t through Legalism

Burned books – thinking was subversive

Han Dynasty (202 B.C.E.–220 C.E.)

into Korea, Indochina, central Asia

contact with India, Parthian Empire

Wu Ti (140–87 B.C.E.)

support of Confucianism

Chapter 2

China from the Later Zhou to the Han Era

chapter 212
Political Institutions

Political traditions

patriarchal family

ancestor worship

semi-autonomous villages


local authority


local armies

Regional governors




Chapter 2
chapter 213
Chapter 2
  • What were key elements of the political framework that emerged as a result of the classical period in China?
    • Strong local units never disappeared
      • Rely on tightly knit patriarchal families
    • Single law code and uniform tax system
      • Establishment of effective central gov’t
    • Highly skilled bureaucracy
      • Civil service tests; SLIGHT check on upper class rule
    • Gov’t sponsored intellectual life
      • Research in astronomy and maintenance of historical records
    • Active in economy
      • Org production of iron and salt
      • Standardization of currency, weight, measures – help facilitate trade
chapter 214
Religion and Culture


unifying traditions

Kung Fuzi (ca. 551–478 B.C.E.)

respect for superiors

leaders must show moderation

rank based on intelligence, merit

Really wanted to cure political disorder


alternative to Confucianism

support authoritarian state

belief in evil nature of humankind

Qin, early Han


more religious

Laozi (5th century B.C.E.)

force of nature

ethical code

“Way of Nature”

Five Classics – pg. 48


Largely decorative


No monumental buildings


365.5 day year by 444 BCE

Sunspots – Why important?

Chapter 2
chapter 215
Chapter 2
  • What were limits to Confucianism?
    • Did not seek popular loyalty; diff groups embrace diff values
    • Limits in appeal to masses:
      • Reluctance to explore mysteries of life or nature = no spiritual side
      • Most easily accepted by upper classes – WHY?
        • Had time to pursue an education and participate in ceremony
      • Most peasants needed more civic virtue to understand and survive their harsh life
chapter 216
Economy and Society


Wheat for rice

Become increasingly important during Zhou and Han dynasties


Ox-drawn plow


Water-powered mills

Chapter 2
chapter 217
Economy and Society

By Zhou….

Social division was mainly b/t land owning gentry (2%) and peasants

Peasantry depends on cooperation, particularly in south

Classical China’s 3 Main Social Groups

Landowning aristocracy

Laboring classes

Mean people

People w/o meaningful skills

Chapter 2
chapter 218
How Chinese Civilization Fits Together


Confucianism & bureaucracy

Political stability & economic growth


Confucianism v. Daoism

Chapter 2
chapter 219
Chapter 2
  • Why did China remain isolated?
    • Chinese saw world in terms of a large island of civilization surrounded by barbarian peoples with nothing to offer
    • Proud of their own culture & durability, had neither need or desire to learn from other societies
    • No desire to teach the rest of the world
    • They thought of their society as a “whole”