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Impact of Confucianism on the Ancient China

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Throughout the history of ancient China, there were different philosophical movements. Considering the period when these philosophical movements began, it is necessary to pay attention to the so-called ‘Spring and Autumn period’ (from VII to V centuries BC), that gave breath to Confucianism. This ancient philosophy had a huge impact on the ideas, on values, governmental structures and the way of thinking of citizens and rulers of that time. Followers of this philosophical movement were mainly concerned with real-life problems and ethics – trying to make the world a peaceful place and be kind to one another, rather than thinking about the creation of life, soul and ways to reach peace of mind and full enlightenment of the person. Thus, this ideology became not a form or kind of religion, but a ritualized ethics, which as a result formed the shape of ancient Chinese culture.

Confucianism was named after Confucius, whose records and teachings formed the basis of the way of thinking of people, that lived in ancient China. Teachings of Confucius can be summarized into 5 concepts – Ren, Yi, Li, Zhi, Xin. Ren requires a person to be benevolent, humanistic, treat people the way you would like to be treated (Lai, C. 2018). Yi means that a person should be just and honest. If there is some contradiction between his/her aims and the common good, one should always choose what is better for everyone. Li states about social structure and the right way to build relationships within society. Zhi calls a person to never stop educate himself/herself, there is nothing more valuable than wisdom. Xin requires a human to be loyal. A person that has no loyalty was considered immoral because while not being loyal towards others or your words, you cannot be trusted one.

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In Confucianism, all the rules of life were discussed, up to – what a person should do in his free time. Each rule was described very specifically. Fulfilling all requirements and norms, the person was considered as a reference model for others. Based on these 5 concepts, it is noticeable that human being in Confucianism is part of society where he or she should learn to coexist with others in a harmony, in a way that society expects you to do so, rather than being an individual that goes towards his or her aims and dreams no matter what. Influence of teachings Li on the social structure of China of that period can be noticed in the fact that there is the right way of building relationships, it is all written down, the one should not behave the other way. Society of that time expected concrete relationships between members of society, in particular, respect for elders, father should be kind towards his son, when son should give respect to his father. Ruler should be benevolent, and others should be loyal towards the ruler. Also, every human should know his or her role in society, the same way he or she has it within their family and keep up to it. Another great impact on society was creation of schools for boys, where they studied calligraphy and sciences.

All in all, these main concepts had a tremendous impact on the culture and economics of ancient China. Therefore, it helped them to live a comfortable life and govern their society more efficiently.

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Impact of Confucianism on the Ancient China. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
“Impact of Confucianism on the Ancient China.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
Impact of Confucianism on the Ancient China. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
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