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Throughout history China was ruled by dynasties, beginning with the

Xia who came to power around 2100 BC and ending with the Qing that fell
in 1912. These and all the ruling families in between served similar
functions. They built armies and other defenses, oversaw projects to
improve the empire such as roads, walls, and irrigation systems, and maintained the
government itself by appointing officials, collecting taxes, and making laws.
The teachings of Confucius and the governance of Ancient China were very closely
related. Confucius lived during a time when the ruling dynasty of the day experienced
many problems. Rulers were weak and chaos resulted from local lords warring with one
another for control. These troubled times led the philosopher to consider a code of
conduct that could once again make Chinese society orderly and peaceful.
He believed that for society to function properly, everyone had to know their proper
place based upon the five relationships: ruler over ruled; father over son; husband over
wife; older brother over younger brother; and friend to friend, which was the only equal
relationship. In most cases one person was viewed as superior to the other and deserved
the respect and obedience of their inferior. In return, the superior person was to set a
good example. In this way the relationships were reciprocal; one could not demand
respect if he did not demonstrate virtuous behavior.
The philosopher Mencius, a follower of Confucius, further explained how the five
relationships applied to government. He taught that rulers received their right to rule
from God, and a corrupt or unjust ruler would lose that right, allowing the people to
rebel. Thus, when problems arose in China, the people took it as a sign from God that
their ruler had lost his mandate of heaven, and the struggle began to overthrow the
reigning dynasty and replace it with another.
The teachings were so important to Chinese rulers that under the Han dynasty,
Confucianism was adopted as a guide for government. Positions in government were
handed out based on scores on tests over Confucian thought. The scholar bureaucrats
as they were known held the most powerful positions under the emperor.
Which situation is NOT an example of a superior relationship?
A. A father decides his son will marry the neighbors daughter.
B. A ruler imposes a new tax on the people to build a new road.
C. An older brother gives his younger brother a list of chores.
D. A friend tells another friend to treat his wife with respect.
The word reciprocal in the third paragraph most nearly means
A. shared.
B. unequal.
C. violent.

D. unfair.

Which statement BEST explains the mandate of heaven described in the passage?
A. A ruler who wins the support of his people deserves to be obeyed.
B. The father who is good to his sons is promised a place with God.
C. Our empire fell into chaos and the ruling dynasty fell as a result.
D. Confucius taught us how to behave to maintain order in society.
Which sentence BEST states the main idea of the passage?
A. Dynasties that were corrupt were often overthrown in Ancient China.
B. Confucian teachings help explain the rise and fall of Chinese dynasties.
C. The mandate of heaven was considered the right to rule from god.
D. Ancient Chinese rulers had many responsibilities to their citizens.


InspirEd Educators, Inc.

A new dynasty begins its rule.

Many generations pass.

The new dynasty ages and declines.

The ruler imposes very high

taxes on the people.

The ruler allows protective walls

to crumble and armies to weaken.

Roads and other infrastructure

decay and crumble.

The ruler overlooks corruption

within his government.

The ruler treats the people

unfairly and even cruelly.

God grows angry with the weak

dynasty, and it loses its
mandate of heaven.

Foreign powers begin

to invade China.

Natural disasters, floods,

earthquakes, and droughts, occur.

The peasants begin to revolt.

Bandits launch raids

in the countryside.

Famine and poverty bring misery.

Powerful families go to war for

control of China; the winner
claims a mandate of heaven.

Peace returns to China.

Economic growth occurs as roads

and other infrastructure are repaired.

Land is given to the peasants.

Protective walls are rebuilt

and new armies are raised.

The population grows and prospers.


InspirEd Educators, Inc.

InspirEd Educators, Inc.