Similarity between the goals of Mao Zedong

The Confucian Notion of the Dynastic Cycle

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The Confucian Notion of the Dynastic Cycle

  • The Dynastic Cycle is the changing of the dynasties in China – due to the belief in the Mandate of Heaven (the right to rule) or that the dynasty receives the right to rule as long as it rules wisely and well but loses the Mandate of Heaven if floods, famines, epidemics, or too many wars occur

  • Zeng Guofan said in 1854, “In the past, at the end of the Han, Tang, Yuan, and Ming dynasties, bands of rebels were innumerable, all because of foolish rulers and misgovernment, so that none of these rebellions could be stamped out. But today [the emperor] is deeply concerned and examines his character in order to reform himself, worships Heaven, and is sympathetic to the people. He has not increased the land tax. . . . It does not require any great wisdom to see that sooner or later the [Taiping] bandits will all be destroyed.”

  • In this quote, it is clear that Zeng Guofan is saying that foolish leaders led to the success of rebellions and the collapse of dynasties

  • He is also saying that the Qing emperor is not foolish and is making good decisions by examining his character and reforming himself – therefore the Taiping Rebellion will be stopped

  • The quotation reveals how the Mandate of Heaven justifies rebellion when a ruler is corrupt and incompetent

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