Confucianism: Song China's Strong Central Government

901 Words 4 Pages
“The new policies set out to once again foster a more proactive state… to ameliorate problems and to foster positive goals, foster positive goods for the people” (Packet 40). During eleventh century China, two political thinkers both studied Confucianism, but derived different perspectives on how Song China should be governed. Wang Anshi believed that there should be a strong central government, which involved itself in the issues of its society. He wanted to reform the existing government and implement systems to help the peasant people. On the contrary, Sima Gaung wanted a limited central government with local systems to tend to the society because the local rulers would be well-acquainted with the local issues. Based on the state of the …show more content…
Sima Guang’s ideas were in stark contrast of Anshi’s, and both men avoided each other, but the government slowly transitioned towards Guang’s ideas after Anshi left office. Sima did not approve of the reforms brought about by Anshi, and instead wanted a more traditionalist government, with self-sufficiency. “Sima argued for the cause of good government through moral leadership rather than by assertive measures and through the improved functioning of tested institutions rather than by drastic changes” (Sima Guang Sheet). An example of an institution that Sima did not believe to be beneficial was the taxation on the wealthy. “‘Financial experts’ I said, ‘do nothing but impose heavy and annoying taxation on the people in order to drain their wealth. As a result, the common people are driven to poverty’” (Packet 152). Guang believed that the central government had no reason to intervene in the workings of the local governments of Song China, and that each territory should have an elitist leader. “The state—the emperor in particular—should instead rely on those within society with a natural role as leaders… best equipped to provide an organic leadership within communities to address the problems” (Packet 41). Sima believed that the people within the society should be leaders because they know more about a particular area than a centralized government

Related Documents