Analysis Of Good Government Viewpoints Of Ancient Greece And China

1035 words - 5 pages

Many great civilizations have come and gone and have left a lasting impact in our world. However, very few have had such a lasting impact in world’s history like ancient China and Greece. Both civilizations have influenced us tremendously and have given us much knowledge that guides how we think, behave, and live our lives. Even though both civilizations gave us many things such as philosophical views and values, their contributions in government set them apart based on their contributions to our current governmental system. Although similar to each other in some ways, ancient Greece and China had many dissimilar viewpoints about good government; these viewpoints can be broken down and analyzed to see how Greece’s views of good government were more focused on society while China’s views were more focused on spirituality and morality.
Greece and China had many similarities, which centered on who should rule. For instance, both civilizations had a portion of their beliefs of good government centered on the personal characteristics of the individual. From the works of Sparta, we can see that they focused more on personal abilities of an individual and whether he showed enough qualification to lead them. According to the Spartan Constitution, a person in Sparta would look to another with strength with obedience and respect; as a result, the more strength and respect you can command, the better chance you have to lead (Reader 73). The Chinese can also be shown to center their views in this way by observing the Analects of Confucius which explain to us that the most moral individuals or in other words, the most humane and wisest, are the people who should be allowed to rule. For example, according to the Analects, Confucius says that rulers should treat others in a good way and never treat them in a way that you would not want to be treated (Analects 15.24). Also, this view can be supported by observing the Analects which says, “One who governs through virtue may be compared to the polestar, which occupies its place while hosts of other stars pay homage to it” (Analects 2.1). By observing these works, one can understand how similar these two civilizations thought but how different the personal qualities of the individuals who why chose to lead them were.
Greeks and Chinese also had similarities on what is the best way to rule. These similarities can be seen in how the Greeks believed that the best way to govern is for the benefit of the people and in how the Chinese believed that they should rule with morality and think about people’s needs. For example, according to Document #17 in the reader, Pericles mentions that Athenians are thought as equal under their law and treated fairly as a result of their democracy (82). The belief in government serving the people can be also seen in ancient Chinese civilization by observing the Analects of Confucius. Confucius says that a good government should provide “Sufficient food, sufficient military force, [which...

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