Answer to Question #165216 in History for Feby Abraham

Question #165216

Chinese philosophy under the Han

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For this assignment, in order to debate the merits of "hard" and soft" power in ancient empire building. The setting is the court of Han Wu Di, the Han emperor (his title is Son of Heaven) in the mid-second century BCE. Han Wu Di has summoned teachers from the three leading schools of ancient Chinese thought—Legalism, Confucianism, and Daoism—to debate the merits of their respective philosophies.

Read the following documents Laozi, selections from the Dao De Jing; Han Fei, “The Five Vermin;” and also read the following chapters from the Analects of Confucious: books I, II, XII, XIII, XIV, XVI. Adopt the position of either a Confucianist, Legalist, or Daoist and write a speech trying to persuade Han Wu Di to govern the Chinese Empire (a.k.a. the Middle Kingdom) according to your philosophy.





  1. 300 words.
  2. Be clear, direct, and persuasive.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of all three schools—not just your own philosophy, but your opponents' as well. In other words, anticipate the opposing sides.
  4. Remember who your audience is—Han Wu Di, the Son of Heaven. Use appropriately respectful language.
  5. Keep in mind that the Daoists are very hard to classify as either "hard" or "soft" power
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