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China Lesson Plans. Part II Dr. Terrae Fogarty.

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china lesson plans

China Lesson Plans

Part II

Dr. Terrae Fogarty


The heyday of Legalism was in Qin just before the creation of the Chinese Empire. The Legalist hammered Qin into a strong state with a strong military. That enabled its armies to defeat the other kingdoms and create the Chinese Empire. But the Qin dynasty survived only a few years after the death of the first emperor. The Han dynasty that took over control of the empire adopted the Qin innovation of a professional bureaucracy to run the empire.


Legalism went beyond the proposition of the need for a comprehensive set of laws. The three elements of proper government according to Legalist theory were: Shih: Power and position Shu: Administrative techniques and methods Fa: A Comprehensive system of laws.

The Legalists not only asserted that humans were by nature evil but they expanded their notion of evil to include those activities which were not deemed socially productive, such as reading and scholarship. The Legalists believed that the only productive occupations were farming and weaving. This meant that reading was simply a waste of the labor resources of the society. So all books other than those on farming, weaving and divination were burned, and those scholars who refused to heed the administrators' edicts against pursuing useless activities were punished and some were even buried alive.


As you look at the slides on Legalism, consider why this philosophy would be preferred by leaders of the day.

Make a list telling how the following Daoist pictures demonstrate the characteristics or founding of Daoism.
Create a comparison chart that details the way in which the problems of the day would be resolved by each of the three philosophies?

Qin dynasty (221-206 B.C.E.)

Shihuangdi (First Emperor)

qin shi huang di
Qin Shi Huang Di

1st Emperor

qin contributions
Qin Contributions
  • Read this document and create a bullet list of contributions

Han FeiHan Fei was a Han prince and leading philosopher of legalist tradition in China during the Warring States Period. Han Fei and Li Si developed the School of Law also known as "Legalism". Fast Facts:Born: 280 BC Also known as Han Fei Tzu "tzu" is a Chinese suffix meaning "master" Greatest exponent of the political theory (philosophy) Legalism Studied with the philosopher Xun Kuang Views and essays compiled into the book Han Feizi after death Li Si later became chancellor of the Qin DynastyDied: 233 BC Qin StateHan Fei made his way to Qin State in 234 BC at the request of the First Emperor. Although Han Fei impressed the Emperor with the advice he gave, the censure intervened, and told the Emperor that Han Fei was not to be fully trusted because his loyalty would always be to the Han royal family. The Emperor accepted the censure's advice and sent him to prison, whereupon Li Si sent him poison so that he could commit suicide. Later, the Emperor regretted sending Han Fei to prison and pardoned him, however, at that point he was already dead.


How did the examination system change the way government positions were chosen? Describe the term bureaucracy and explain how it was used under the Han.


Write an essay describing the development of Chinese civilization under the Zhou, Qin and Han Dynasties. Be sure to detail the differences and the similarities of each.