By A Bianchi

What is Legalism

Legalism was a law started by the government that made rulers enforce the legal system to obey laws.This was happening during the Warring State period in 221 BC,legalism started under the Qin Dynasty.


Legalism is a belief that rulers should use a legal system for people to obey laws. People say a strong government was the answer to China's problems and that if  they followed this belief they would see disorder in their society. Their government believed that people were evil and mean,that they would only do good if the law forced them to do so. If people didnt follow this law and they saw them not informing it they would kill them or hurt them severely. When people did good and enforced the law then they would be rewarded. The whole point of this was to make the afraid to do the wrong thing,violence is something that worked for them so the did it. Shang Yang said that he wanted people to be arrested if they questioned the government or taught people different ways. Legalism came first over anyones needs.

Who started Legalism


Han Fei is the man who started Legalism. He was born in 280 B.C. and into a ruling family during the end phase of the Warring State period. When he was a grown up he was a philosopher. Shang Yang was a very big help toward enforcing Legalism. Han Fei, Shang Yang, and Shi Huangdi, put there heads together and introduced the doctrine of Legalism. Han Fei died 233 B.C. at the age of 47 or 48, he killed himself with posioning.

Where was Legalism

Legalism was happening in China during the Han Dynasty in the Warring State period. This was the most practical element of Legalism and Confucianism. They said that this was going to stay in China until the late 19th century and the government would make new changes about Legalism later, also in the 19th century.

Why did Legalism start

Han Fei started Legalism because he wanted people to obey laws and force them to do it with violence. One strict rule that they had was that you wouldn't be able to read other books that taught different, they would burn the books. Han Fei, Shang Yang, and Li Si wanted to make sure that people followed a philosophy that would strengthen the government power. They wanted it to be the number one thing over your personal needs.
Legalism - World History