The Correlation Between Chinese History And Beliefs

.. Wen had died before his conquest had been victorious so his son, King Wu, had assumed the conquest. King Wu had become the founder of the Zhou dynasty, but had died two years later during an intense battle with the last of the Shang family. His son was too young to succeed the throne so his younger brother of King Wu, Duke of Zhou, had instead taken care of state affairs. These three rulers had been the designers of the political and social structures of the Zhou dynasty. Each ruler attributed to the establishment of the feudal belief system in China.

Through this system the country of China had been divided into several sections assigned to individual members of the Zhou family. Each person in a specific area ruled by a specific member of the Zhou family had become property of that member and that members descendants. This method of organization gave land and people to the members of the upper class. The exact number of classes and divisions thereof are unknown as factual evidence. The number of classes is thought to lie between ten and twelve with numerous subdivisions. Of the known classes there are the king, master of all, people and land alike.

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At the bottom is the common serf, bound to the land either by extreme adversity or because of his birthright. The serf had first attend his masters land and then was allowed to tend to his own. The common serf was not allowed to ever leave his masters fief. Also if the lord of the land was in need of a women then the serfs daughters or wife may be subject. The life of a serf was better than a slave in that he was allowed the right of a family, tools and land of his own. The Zhou rulers used two methods of maintaining law and order within the kingdom. The first method, and most often used, was through acts of severe punishment or torture.

The second was through the use of rites to adjust relations among the nobles. The rites were a series of rules and regulations concerning behavior, conduct and social institutions. These systems and institutions suited the social conditions very well and the Zhou enjoyed peace and stability for about 300 years. In 771 B.C., a mixture of natural calamities, internal struggles in the court and attacks by bordering tribes brought the Zhou familys rule to the brink of collapse. However, in the following year the Zhou moved their capital from the Haojing area in the west to the Luoyi area in the eastern side of China.

The dynasty name changed to mark the beginning of a new empire. The new dynasty was referred to as the East Zhou dynasty and the earlier dynasty was now known as the West Zhou dynasty. The new dynasty was then once again divided into yet two more periods called the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. The Spring and Autumn Period had taken place between the years 770 B.C. and 476 B.C. The namesake for this era was simply the result of the many important events that had taken place during this period.

Which coincidentally had been recorded in an archive entitled the The Spring and Autumn Annuals. Much like the namesake for its counterpart, The Warring States Period, had been named literally because there were warring states within the kingdom during the times between 475 B.C. and 221 B.C. During these periods the king had only the power of ownership to his title and the name of his country. That is, he was weak in every way and unable to control the acts of any nobles that may have gained more land and power than he. The land under his direct rule had continually gotten smaller as a result of invasions by rebelling nobles.

In effect of the extinguishing kingdom, the number of states decreased from 1,000 during the Western Zhou to a mere 100 during the Spring and Autumn Period and finally to the minute amount of twenty during the Warring States Period. There were many social renovations that had taken place during this period as well. Through the increasing usage of iron tools, agriculture had developed furthermore. Lords had learned that they may receive more money if they were to rent their lands to the serfs. So, in effect, there was the establishment of landowners and tenants.

Along with this development of agriculture, handicrafts and commerce also grew, and there appeared a new merchant class. Many merchants were rich enough to visit and bribe princes and dukes. Another group of people, scholars, also developed. These came from different classes. Before the Spring and Autumn Period, what learning there was had been monopolized by the nobles; they alone could use the books and documents stored by the government, and other people could not share this right.

The great political and social changes during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods broke the monopoly of learning by the nobles. At all levels of society ;declining nobles, new landlords, free citizens, even poor people ;there were people who made an effort to study and turn themselves into scholars. When rulers of states wanted wise advice that would help them to make their states rich and strong, they turned to scholars for such help and often put them into important positions. Which represented the incorporation of more logical thinking, unlike the use of a court diviner during the Xian and Shang dynasties. The Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods were thus a time of change.

States expanded or were conquered. The old systems and institutions established in the Western Zhou were no longer observed. The rites and original social order were broken.Old beliefs collapsed and new ideas spread. This turbulent situation urged scholars of the day to think of ways to bring about peace and stability, or to make a state rich and strong. Some of them went a step further to study fundamental principles of the universe and human life.

Therefore these two periods, especially the Warring States Period, saw the rise of many different schools of philosophy. Social Issues.