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What role did morality play in Sima Qian’s description of the transfer of the Xia ruler’s mandate from heaven to the Shang dynasty?

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The Mandate of Heaven is a fundamental concept in classical Chinese philosophy. Good rulers were allowed to continue their reigns, but bad rulers would lose the mandate, and it would be transferred to a more deserving person.

A young member of the Han court, Sima Qian, succeeded his father as the Han dynasty's grand historian in 108. Sima Qian's literary masterpiece, Records of the Grand Historian is a monumental work of history that spans 130 chapters. It begins with the semi-legendary founder...

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