Throughout the centuries China has adapted to many diverse philosophies but the three main philosophies are Daoism, Legalism, and Confucianism. Each philosophy has its own set of rules on how the followers should act both in private and in public. Daoism, Confucianism and Legalism have many differences and similarities in their family values, government and morals. Confucianism was developed in 551-479 BC by a Chinese philosopher named Confucius. Confucius believed that in order to have a successful and organized society youngers had to respect their elders and parents. Confucius emphasized on moral order, the society and the righteousness of Chinas ancient rulers. They also believed that education was very important for the society as well as for themselves. Another rule they lived by is that strong relationships should be based on a great government.
The main ideas of Confucianism were that leaders should be considerate and lead by example, people should be respectful and loyal to their family members and that learning is a process that never ends. Daoism was developed around the 3rd or 4th century BCE by the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu he searched for various ways to create an orderly society. Lao Tzu focused on the link between nature and people rather than the importance of proper behavior. Daoists believed that the best way to live life was the natural way. Daoists didn’t see eye to eye with Confucian rules for the society as they thought they were useless. They disagreed with the rules as they believed that a society with rules disturbed the natural order.
A quote that Daoists live by and believe is that if “The duck’s legs are short, but if we try to lengthen them, the duck will feel pain. The crane’s legs are long, but if we try to shorten them, the crane will feel grief. Therefore we are not to cut off what is by nature long, nor to lengthen what is by nature short.”(Tzu). According to Daoists, the best government to have was one that has very few rules.
They preferred things to be simple. Legalism was developed in 475-221 BC by Hanfeizi a Chinese philosopher. He declined Confucian ideas about proper behavior. He strongly believed that people act out of arrogance and they were bad by nature and needed to be controlled. Legalists also believed that by having harsh rules it would ensure order in the society. Legalists wanted the empire to expand.
Family came second in obeying the laws their duty was to betray and report their family members into the government if they happened to break a law. Legalist believe strongly that the upper class are much more important than common people. In conclusion Confucianism, Legalism and Daoism have far more differences than similarities. they are different in the sense that Confucianism required Youngers to respect their elders whereas legalism required that individuals should be loyal subjects the government and Daoism emphasized on following the path of nature.
Legalism was based on the idea that people were naturally evil. Daoism and Confucianism were based on the idea that people were good but needed guidance. Although they have far more differences than similarities all the philosophies strived to achieve individual goodness for the well being of their society.