Cultivating Power Effectively Essay

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History shows us that the processes of accumulating power usually result in poverty and violence. This holds true in Shang China, Zhou China, Qin China, Han China, and many dynasties after. Early China was not thought of as a country but a proto-state, or a big collection of different tribes each with their own ruler. They were not unified and the king doesn’t always have control over his people. Observation of these dynasties informs us of their government systems. We start with Shang ruling with violence, Zhou using the Mandate of Heaven to defeat Shang; Qin have the original form of Confucius’s teachings to govern; then in Han, Confucius’ teachings transform to assist scholars with their own agendas. Rulers of earlier dynasties use violence to gain and maintain power but as the nation develops these rulers found superstition as a more effective method to justify their rightful rulership, which includes the common belief of ancestral blessings and the widespread of Confucius ideologies.
It was common in Shang time for rulers to raid villages to display their oppressive power. “The Royal Consort Fu Hao of the Shang”, written by Minna Haapanen, mentions that there were many battles between the estates even women participated, maybe because there was a shortage of man power. They also exercise violence by practicing human sacrifice, for example they would force their people to do labor without compensation or they would build the walls of their tombs with human corpses. These acts of violence brought fear and they demand submission from neighboring tribes. However, the Zhou uses Shang’s violent custom to their benefit and noting that the Shang is unfit to rule. Zhou Dynasty establishes the Mandate of Heaven Ideology, which attempts to demonstrate that the Zhou king has the support of divine beings to fight against the Shang king. This ideology serves as a political tactic aiming to bring the Zhou more supporters, because other tribes will think that if they don’t help the Zhou they might be on bad terms with Heaven. Shang is using violence to maintain their dominance, while the Zhou accumulates power using both violence and superstition.
“King Wu’s Announcement” (c.1045 BC), is a speech made by King Wu, a ruler of the Zhou tribe, as an attempt to rallied up help to fight against the Shang ruler. King Wu starts off his speech with, “Ah! Ye hereditary rulers of my friendly States, and all ye my officers, managers of my affairs, listen clearly to my declaration.” He is addressing his followers with a friendly and respectful undertone. The way he uses the word hereditary will come up later when he is stating his rights to be king. In the next part of his speech King Wu focuses on proving why the Shang king does not deserve this title. He was not vain to talk of his qualities; instead he was smart enough to criticize the Shang ruler’s flaws and sins. “Chow, the King of Shang, does not revere Heaven above, and he inflicts calamities on the people...

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