Easy for Hierarchy

The ideal world depicted in Confucian texts is unabashedly one of hierarchy.  To the Confucian, a harmonious world is one in which the ruler presides over the minister, the father over the son, the husband over the wife, and the elder brother over the younger brother.  In the first decades of the twentieth century, Chinese thinkers attacked Confucianism because of these hierarchical qualities, which they dubbed “authoritarian.”  With an eye to this criticism, craft an argument about the nature and role of hierarchy in Confucian thought.  One question that may aid your thinking:  Is hierarchy tantamount to oppression?    Please note that only assigned sources may be used.


Your essay will be judged by the extent to which:


  • You offer a sound and convincing argument;
  • You demonstrate careful reading of the sources;
  • You include ideas from lecture and other assigned readings as appropriate;
  • You craft a well-written and well-constructed essay;
  • You demonstrate understanding of the history presented thus far in class;
  • You are able to write a paper that is free of careless errors.


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