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The Imperial Civil Exam System. Essay

2749 words - 11 pages

The Imperial Civil Exam SystemThe Chinese civil examination system from 600 AD to the industrial revolution, was the most progressive system of its kind in the world. Theoretically the government's exams allowed any Chinese man an equal chance at even the highest positions in politics and society. In practice this may not have always been the case, but at least all social barriers were removed from one's path. Only economic realities may have put individuals in unequal positions, but that remains true of our modern society.The purpose of this paper is to discuss the Imperial Chinese civil service exam system and the impacts it had on the Chinese political system. To do this, a brief background of Confucianism and the Chinese educational system will be given. Next, the Exam System can be dealt with, as it began in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.) through to its end during the neo-Confucian Qing Dynasty (1644-1911A.D.). Finally, how this system has shaped the Chinese political vantage will be discussed.Master Kung or Kung Fu-tzu (551-479 BC) Master Kung lived during what is known as the Eastern Zhou period. This period of political disunity from 770 BC to 221 BC sparked an intellectual outpouring in China known as the era of a "hundred schools." Wandering teachers would move from state to state offering their services and ideas to patrons, about how to improve their rule. Confucius was just one of these traveling teachers who thought his ideas, if followed, could eventually bring the political conflict and wars in China to an end. During his lifetime, Confucius was never able to put his ideas into practice, and he died thinking himself a failure. His ideas, though, were remembered by his devoted followers, and recorded after his death in what is called the Analects (4th century BC). Confucius' ideas about morality were not abstract, but pragmatic, which meant morality was not determined by absolutes as much as it was by circumstances and relationships. The basic relationships a person had in society determined or defined moral action. The goal was to ensure a person performed his key roles and obligations well. Confucius seemed to have a very positive view of human nature in that he believed that there was an inclination in people to behave morally. However, he also believed this inclination had to be inspired by proper moral models. This was the role of the Emperor and his magistrates .The historical importance China has placed on education is derived from the teachings of Confucius and philosophers of the middle and late Chou eras. Fundamentally, these philosophies taught that social harmony could be achieved only if humans were free from deprivation and given proper education. Confucius taught that all people possessed the same potential, and that education was the corrective means to curb any tendencies to stray from ethical behavior.From the very first, Confucius made education available to students from all classes. Education in China has...

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