approaches to governance and society

For this assignment, you will compare and contrast the values, world-views, similarities, and differences between the following approaches to governance and society in each of the following documents from the Sources of World Societies textbook:

  • The Laws of Manu (p. 39-42)
  • Confucian Maxims and Sayings (p. 49 -51)
  • Laozi offers advice on following the Way (p. 52-54)
  • Han Fei lays out the Legalist View of Good Government (p. 54-56)

Consider the following questions:

  1. In these documents, what groups of people seem to have the most liberties and options in their societies? Who has the least? Why?
  2. Do these documents all fit within the same genre? Are they, for example, what we would consider to be legal codes, or are they closer to a philosophy of life? Or would you consider them primarily political in nature?
  3. What might account for the differences or similarities in these documents? Consider the following aspects of each society:
    1. Geography
    2. Religion
    3. Economic status (i.e. is the economy doing well, or poorly, around the time the document was produced)
    4. Where would these documents be posted, or how would they circulate? How would people hear about them, and be affected by them?
    5. The stability of the political situation (i.e. is this a peaceful society, or warlike? Is it threatened by outside forces or internal instabilities?)
  4. If mentioned, how does the treatment of women vary across these societies? What do you think explains differences or similarities?

Be sure to provide quotes and examples from the text, with proper citation, to support your analysis. All submissions must be at least 750 words in length.


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