Over the centuries China has adapted to many diverse philosophies
but the three major 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.
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 living the natural way was the best. 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 disrupted 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
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 evil 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.
Legalists believe strongly that the upper class are much more important than
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.