Provide concrete examples of how Confucianism became a governing ideology for multiple imperial dynasties.

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Confucius (551 BCE to 479 BCE) was a great Chinese philosopher whose thought engulfed personal life, inter-personal relationships, family life, statecraft, morality, ethics, and justice. He based his thinking on the idea of an inward morality to be followed rather than an elaborate system of thought. For him, the basis...

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Confucius (551 BCE to 479 BCE) was a great Chinese philosopher whose thought engulfed personal life, inter-personal relationships, family life, statecraft, morality, ethics, and justice. He based his thinking on the idea of an inward morality to be followed rather than an elaborate system of thought. For him, the basis of society is the family, with reverence of and deference to the father. The state is also a family, with the emperor in the role of father. His guiding principle was the golden rule that one should not do to others what one would not want done to oneself.

Confucius developed his ideas when he was a tutor during feudal times in China. Seeing warfare and dissolution around him, he believed there should be a unified empire and that government should be based on rulers striving always for self-improvement and setting good examples.

His ideas were not embraced during his lifetime but became widespread during the Han and Tang dynasties. Han Wudi embraced the idea of an orderly and unified government ruled by a virtuous king. Governmental officials were selected on merit rather than family ties, and civil service exams were instituted. Starting in 140 BCE and on until the nineteenth century, civil service exams were based on the writings of Confucius, which were required reading.

Furthermore, beginning with the emperor Liu Bang, emperors were advised by a group of Confucian scholars who helped guide decision-making by using Confucian precepts.

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