Written Assignments

Confucius and Democracy


Web Resources for This Assignment

Confucius
Confucius, Selections from The Analects

Confucius and Government   Confucius stands not only at the center of Chinese thought, but also dead center in Chinese thinking about government and political theory. It is not unfair to say that Chinese government from the Han dynasty onwards has been in some form or another modelled on Confucian thought.


Confucius and Democracy   As we study the history of China, you'll find out how various governments adapt themselves to Confucianism; the most startling transition in Chinese government, however, is the adoption of Western styles of government in the twentieth century, beginning with the democratic movement of the Chinese Nationalists under a man named Sun Yat Sen. But is Chinese democracy, either under the Nationalists or later under the Communists (who claim to live in a democracy) the same as Western democracy? Would the Chinese really just take over a foreign style of government without adapting it to the millenia of historical experience of their own political structures?
   The answer, of course, is no. In this quiz, I'd like you to speculate on the nature of Chinese democracy. What, do you think, would a "Confucian" democracy look like? How would Confucian principles transform democracy (as you understand it from studying ancient Greece)? That's your argument.


Materials   In order to make this argument, you are to use the following three things:
a.) The text of Confucius's Analects on the Internet or in your course packet. I want you to quote passages that you are using to make your argument.
b.) Chinese terms and concepts that you've learned in class or from the glossary.
c.) I also want you to specifically develop your answer from a previous answer submitted by another student (the exception to this is the first person to submit an answer)
   You are allowed to work in groups of two or three; in fact, I really encourage it on this quiz.

Richard Hooker



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