In this series, you will be introduced to two very important historical characters other than Yingzhing, and that would be Lei Si (Lisi) and Hon Fei (Han Fei Tzu). Why they are important because their philosphiy, advise and thinking will shape YingZhing's future Shihhuangti and all his actions, which includes all cruelties thanks to Lei Si, who will later become his premier and advisor. So who were they? You could read a brief info under Character Intros but what is more important is that these two were the proponents of the Legalist School of Thought, a very harsh philosophy which uses criminal law as a basis to run a country. It places more emphasis on penal code, punishment when it comes to governing a state. But one must be reminded the more popular school of thought at that time and even after the fall of Qin Dynasty were Confucianism, and it would be interesting to note books by this philosopher and many others were burned and scholars were buried. Why such extremities? It has everything to do with the philosophies which you'll read below.

What is Legalism?

Basically, the basis is all men are born evil and therefore laws and punishment must be implemented to curb such evilness, not just by education or the assumed virtuous part of men alone. Legalism is the polar opposite to Confucianism, the very foundation of Chinese society. Instead of focusing on the virtuous and righteous qualities a leader should possess, Legalism was about putting the state before the people, before morals, before all other concerns. People were important only inasmuch as they serve the state. Drawing inspiration and role models from the past, another Confucian tradition, was also discarded as useless. For more, do read on. The info below were actually the words of one of the leading proponent of Legalism, Hon Fei.

"Han Fei-tzu (d. 233 BCE): Legalist Views on Good Government

The Confucian ideal of "government through virtue" and the tendency of Confucianists to seek guidance in the rule of former kings was strongly criticized by another school of thought: the Legalists or School of Law. According to the Legalists, neither the wisdom of ancient kings nor an ethical code would make a state strong. Instead "good" and "bad" were defined by whatever the self-interest of the ruler demanded. A system of harsh punishments and rewards, regulated through laws and enforced without exceptions, should guarantee good behavior within the state. The Legalists considered military service and agriculture as the only occupations beneficial to the welfare of the state and discouraged all scholarship. 

The state of Qin in Western China was the first to adopt Legalist doctrines. The Qin were so successful that by 221 BCE they had conquered the other Chinese states and unified the empire after centuries of war. The following paragraph was taken from Han Fei-tzu, The "[book of] Master Han Fei," chapter 50. Han Fei-tzu had studied under the Confucian scholar Hsun-tzu and became the major theorist of the Legalist school. Confucian scholars vigorously denounced his teachings in all subsequent generations; yet his harsh pragmatism, often compared to that of Machiavelli and Kautilya, more accurately explains the actions of many rulers than does the idealistic Confucian model.

What attitude does Han Fei express toward the common people? What kinds of stern measures does he suggest should be enacted for their own good?

When a sage governs a state, he does not rely on the people to do good out of their own will. Instead, he sees to it that they are not allowed to do what is not good. If he relies on people to do good out of their own will, within the borders of the state not even ten persons can be counted on [to do good]. Yet, if one sees to it that they are not allowed to do what is not good, the whole state can be brought to uniform order. Whoever rules should consider the majority and set the few aside: He should not devote his attention to virtue, but to law. 

If it were necessary to rely on a shaft that had grown perfectly straight, within a hundred generations there would be no arrow. If it were necessary to rely on wood that had grown perfectly round, within a thousand generations there would be no cart wheel. If a naturally straight shaft or naturally round wood cannot be found within a hundred generations, how is it that in all generations carriages are used and birds shot? Because tools are used to straighten and bend. But even if one did not rely on tools and still got a naturally straight shaft or a piece of naturally round wood, a skillful craftsman would not value this. Why? Because it is not just one person that needs to ride and not just one arrow that needs to be shot. Even if without relying on rewards and punishments there would be someone doing good out of his own will, an enlightened ruler would not value this. Why? Because a state's law must not be neglected, and not just one person needs to be governed. Therefore, the skilled ruler does not go after such unpredictable goodness, but walks the path of certain success. . . . 

Praising the beauty of Ma Ch'iang or Hsi shih  does not improve your own face. But using oil to moisten it, and powder and paint will make it twice as attractive. 

Praising the benevolence and righteousness of former kings does not improve your own rule. But making laws and regulations clear and rewards and punishments certain, is like applying oil, powder and paint to a state. 

An enlightened ruler holds up facts and discards all that is without practical value. Therefore he does not pursue righteousness and benevolence, and he does not listen to the words of scholars. These days, whoever does not understand how to govern will invariably say: "Win the hearts of the people." If winning the hearts of the people is all that one needs in order to govern, a Yi Yin or a Kuan Chung (2) would be useless. Listening to the people would be enough. But the wisdom of the people is useless: They have the minds of little infants! If an infant's head is not shaved, its sores will spread, and if its boil is not opened, it will become sicker. Yet while its head is being shaved and its boil opened, one person has to hold it tight so that the caring mother can perform the operation, and it screams and wails without end. Infants and children don't understand that the small pain they have to suffer now will bring great benefit later. 

Likewise, if the people are forced to till their land and open pastures in order to increase their future supplies, they consider their ruler harsh. If the penal code is being revised and punishments are made heavier in order to wipe out evil deeds, they consider their ruler stern. If light taxes in cash and grain are levied in order to fill granaries and the treasury so that there will be food in times of starvation and sufficient funds for the army, they consider their ruler greedy. If it is required that within the borders everybody is familiar with warfare, that no one is exempted from military service, and that the state is united in strength in order to take all enemies captive, the people consider their ruler violent. These four types of measures would all serve to guarantee order and peace, yet the people do not have the sense to welcome them. Therefore one has to seek for an enlightened [ruler] to enforce them. 

(1) The beauty of these women is proverbially famous. 

(2) Ancient Chinese statesmen famous for their wisdom. "

"Legalism is not a popular school of philosophy. In fact, it is hardly a school at all, just a set of ideas about how best to run a state, focused on concrete laws for getting a state to prosper rather than philosophical ideas about what constitutes the 'best' state. It came to the fore only once in Chinese history, under the Qin rulers, and was so hated it was afterwards never fully revived again. 

Legalism is the polar opposite to Confucianism, the very foundation of Chinese society. Instead of focusing on the virtuous and righteous qualities a leader should possess, Legalism was about putting the state before the people, before morals, before all other concerns. People were important only inasmuch as they serve the state. Drawing inspiration and role models from the past, another Confucian tradition, was also discarded as useless. 

Li Si was the last and one of the greatest Legalists of Qin, but he was just one in a long line, leading back to Lord Shang, advisor to Duke Xiao of Qin. His rebuttal of Confucianism was brief, to the point, and when Duke Xiao agreed, forever set the state of Qin on a separate path from the other states: 
Wise men make laws, stupid men are constrained by them. Worthy men change rites, unworthy men merely cling to them.
The Confucian philosophers were increasingly horrified as under Lord Shang and later, Li Si, the Qin State swallowed up the others and unified China. The laws of Qin were, it is said, unusually harsh. In the Book of Lord Shang, laws under Legalism are explained: 
In applying punishments, light offenses should be punished heavily; if light offenses do not appear, heavy offenses will not come...Punishments should know no degree or grade, but from ministers of state and generals down to great officers and ordinary folk, whoever does not obey the king's commands, violates the interdicts of the state, or rebels against the statutes fixed by the ruler should be guilty of death and should not be pardoned.
When Lord Shang promulgated the new laws, he put a pole out and announced that anyone who moved it would be given fifty gold pieces. When one man did, he promptly gave him the money. He did this to illustrate that he means what he says, apparently. According to the Shiji, after the laws were in effect for ten years, the people of Qin were overjoyed by the safety and prosperity they brought to the towns and villages. 

Legalism seemed to work, for a while. But oppression of opposing schools of thought became more and more severe, until Li Si recommended, in 213 BC, to burn all books. His argument stems directly from the differences of Legalism and Confucianism. When a academician complained to the Emperor that he was not giving out fiefdoms to his brothers and sons, and so not following the tradition of history, and said "I have never heard of any undertaking that failed to imitate the example of antiquity and yet was able to endure for long," the Emperor took it under advisement. Li Si retorted by stating, "...the feudal rulers rose up side by side, all of them declaiming on antiquity in order to disparage the present." And recommended the books be burned. They were. Another Legalist, Han Fei, wrote in his Han Feizi, " the state of an enlightened ruler there are no books written on bamboo slips; law supplies the only instruction." 

Many of the laws and edicts passed under Legalism were designed to make the common people ignorant and weak. This seems contrary to any kind of logical sense, but it worked for a while. Lord Shang wrote of it in his Book: 
A weak people means a strong state and a strong state means a weak people. Therefore, a state that has the right way is concerned with weakening the people.
Also of interest is the Legalist argument against the welfare state, one that I've heard many, many times still today: 
When the scholars of today discuss good government, many of them say, "Give land to the poor and the destitute, so that those who have no means of livelihood may be provided for." Now, if men start out with equal opportunities and yet there are few who...are able to keep themselves well supplied, it must be due to either hard work or frugal living. If men start out with equal opportunities and yet there are a few who...still sink into poverty and destitution, it must be due either to laziness or to extravagant living. The lazy and extravagant grow poor, the diligent and frugal get rich. Now if the ruler levies money from the rich in order to give alms to the poor, he is robbing the diligent and frugal and indulging the lazy and extravagant. If he expects by such means to induce the people to work industriously and spend with caution, he will be disappointed...
Although first it seemed a smashing success, the death of Qin Shi Huangdi showed how empty that success was. The Second Emperor, hiding away from the people and even his ministers, was not told the truth of what occured outside for fear of the harsh laws. The people could no longer stand the taxation and oppression and rose up against him. The Qin police state disintigrated. Ironically, both Lord Shang and Li Si were eventually cruelly executed under the Legalist system of their own devising. Ever since the empire's collapse, the Qin Dynasty has been synonymous with tyranny and oppression." -

The Qin Penal Code  

Following the Legalist philosophy, the Qin code of laws was extremely harsh: 
Forced labour was a common punishment. Many labourers building the Emperor’s mausoleum and Terracotta Army were actually serving sentences for petty crimes.

Major crimes , e.g. murder and treason, warranted beheading and physical mutilation. 
In 1975, the tomb of a Qin legal official dating back to c.217 BC was discovered in Hubei. It contained over 500 bamboo slips containing legal texts, as well as regulations concerning agriculture, artisans, slaves, public works and collections of case studies for the judge’s reference. It was implied that judges were supposedly charged with the responsibility of defining a crime and then applying the appropriate punishment according to the legal statutes. 

The Differences Between Legalism and Confucianism

Type of Government

Legalism : Government Totalitarian Imperialism; Rule of the Law; Meritocracy. 

Confucianism : Mandate of Heaven; Divine right of the monarchy; Feudalism; A personal government; Hereditary fiefs and rights. 

Type of Ruler

Legalism : Cardinal virtues Efficiency, realism and objectivity. 

Confucianism : Morality and mutual responsibility. 

Important Emphasis
Legalism : `Proper’ activities War and agriculture (to feed the army). Other activities were of limited or no value, e.g. commerce, art, philosophy, history, etc. Scholarship (preservation of customs and rites) and Agriculture (source of food). 

Confucianism : Traders and Soldiers were regarded lowly: the former profit at the expense of others while the latter kill for a living. 

Famous Legalists and Their Lives

Shang Yang (d. 338 B.C.)
He first served as an official under the prime minister of the state of Wei. However, his talent was not recognized by the ruler. Later, he went to Ch'in and soon found favor with the duke and was given office. He is mostly known for the sweeping reforms he proposed. 

-organize people into groups of families, which were mutually responsible for each other's good behavior and share each other's punishment; 
-anyone who did not denounce a culprit would be cut in two at the waist; any one who denounce a culprit would receive the same reward as if he had cut off the head of an enemy soldier; 
-A family including two adult males would have to be divided, or pay double taxes; 
abolish well-field system; 
-All, great or small, would be compelled to work at the fundamental occupations of farming and weaving; those who produced a large quantity of grain or silk would be exempted from forced labor. Those who sought gain through the secondary occupations (trade and crafts), and the lazy and indigent, would be made slaves. 

Han Fei Tzu (d. 233 B.C.)
He was a member of the ruling family of the state of Han, which lay to the east of Ch'in. An impediment in his speech caused him to turn to writing as a means of expression. He became an avid student especially concerned with the study of law and government. As a student of Hsün Tzu, he showed great talent and ultimately developed his teacher's ideas of ruling by law. However, the ruler of Han was not impressed by his ideas. Frustrated and incensed, he poured out his thoughts in several long essays. Two of these came into the hands of the ruler of Ch'in, who exclaimed: "Ah, if I could only see this man and get to know him, I would not regret dying." This opportunity came in 233 B.C., when he was sent to Ch'in as an envoy of Han. The ruler of Ch'in liked the man as well as his writings and considered offering Han Fei Tzu a place in his government. His fellow student Li Ssu had already been serving in Ch'in for fourteen years. Probably disturbed by the prospect of having the brilliant Han Fei Tzu as a rival, he manage to have him thrown into prison and finally caused him to commit suicide.

Li Ssu (Lei Si )
Refer to Han Fei Tzu. This man would become the most influential man in Shihhuangti's decision making process, and he was the one who came up with the brilliant idea of burning books, burying of scholars, falsified decrees that will cause General Meng Tian and Prince Fu Su's (Shih Huang Ti's eldest son) deaths  and perhaps every other reforms, cruelties that made Qin Dynasty so famous. Of course Shih Huang Ti had to say yes first.

Who Is Confucious and What Is His Theory?

What is Confucianism?
It is a world view, a social ethic, a political ideology, a scholarly tradition and a way of life. 

Confucius (551 - 479 B.C.)
Origin of the term
The noun is "Confucius", the Latinization of K'ung Fu-tzu, or "Master K'ung". The term was coined in Europe in the 18th century. 

Social background
During the Chou Dynasty, China's economy expanded rapidly. The introduction of iron-making replaced bronze. As a result, farmers were able to cultivate the land more effectively and feed more men. Iron weapons, on the other hand, let soldiers fight more effectively. The wealth and power of the nobles grew rapidly. They struggled for more power.

The Chou king, however, was not prepared to meet the challenge to their authority. For example, in an attempt to please the whim of his new bride, the king repeatedly lit misleading signal fires for help at the top of the hills. When the nobles came, they laughed at them. So at last, when the real enemy came, the nobles did not came. The king and the bride were killed. As a result, the capital had to be moved eastward. A new regime (Eastern Chou) was subsequently established. Now, the nobles had more power. At last, they chose not to obey the king any more. Instead, they fought among themselves for more power and the honor of being the "protector" of the king. This is the "Warring States period" (403-221 BC). 

Life of Confucius
He was born in the small feudal state of Lu noted for its preservation of the tradition of ritual and music of the Chou civilization. 
His family background was very poor. His father died when Confucius was only three. He was educated by his mother and proved himself to be an indefatigable learner in his teens. 
After serving in minor government posts, he later became a private teacher. He is known as the first private teacher in China. Although before him, tutors were also hired by aristocratic families to educate their sons, he was the first person to devote his whole life to learning and teaching for the purpose of transforming and improving society. 

the most revered sacred text in the Confucian tradition 
transmitted traditional institutions and ideas with his own moral interpretations. 
taught general principles, not specifics. 

conservative: Confucius thought that old institutions were still suitable. They should not be changed. 
agnostic toward supernatural and progressive ideas. 
Confucius: We don't know yet how to serve men, how can we know about serving the spirits?
His student: What about death?
Confucius: We don't know yet about life, how can we know about death?

emphasize non-doing and control our feeling so as to live peacefully with our neighbors. 
Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.

Rectification of Names
It is necessary for a well-ordered society 
Let the ruler be ruler, the minister be minister, the father be father and the son be son.

name must agree with ideal essence, that is, name is equal to ideal. 
name implies certain responsibilities and duties. 
Five relationships
emperor to subject 
father to son 
husband to wife 
elder brother to younger brother 
friend to friend 
For each relationship, there is a li, or ideal way of behaving. The emperors were to be examples of proper behavior, inspiring their subjects to do likewise; fathers were to be models of behavior for their sons, who in turn, were to honor their parents during life and revere their memory after death. Husbands were the heads of the households and were responsible for upholding family honor and preserving the memory of the ancestors. Wives were to bear sons to carry on the family name. Younger brothers were to accept and respect the position of the elder brother who would one day become the head of the family. People were to practice humanity toward each other in their daily life. 

Human-heartedness (ren)
People should practice ren (all-encompassing virtue of good conduct) with each other. 
The duty of man in society is loving others (being considerate). 
a man who is truly considerate (loving others) is able to perform his duties in society. For example, the father-son relationship can be reciprocal . A father behaves as he ought to because he loves his and vice versa. (filial piety) 

Mencius (c. 372 - c. 289 B.C.)
He was the pupil of Confucius' grandson. The book Mencius contains the collection of his thinking. 
Confucius did not explain why a man is capable of acting in the way of ren. 
Mencius developed the theory of "original goodness of human nature". He thought that man is inherently good in nature. 
only no education or a bad education can cause a person to go bad, but natural instincts are good. So, men should be judged by learning, not by birth. 
If a sovereign doesn't behave in the way of ren, the people have a moral right of revolution. This is the development of the Mandate of Heaven. 
A king asked Mencius: "may a subject, then slay his king?"

Mencius replied: "he who outrages humanity is a scoundrel, he who outrages righteousness is a scourge. A scourge or a scoundrel is a despised creature (and no longer a king). I have heard that a despised creature called Chou was put to death, but I have not heard anything about the murdering of a sovereign."

The basis of a humane government is equitable land distribution. 
People have the right to revolt if treated unjustly. 
Human nature is good and education is important to bring it to full bloom. 

Hsün-tzu (c. 300 - c. 235 B.C.)
"right wing" Confucianism. He assumed a more pessimistic outlook and emphasized social control 
the nature of man is evil, his goodness is acquired. 
Since human nature is from nature, we are the same as animals. What differentiates us from other animals is that we have intelligence and therefore a capacity for learning. 
The importance of teachers and laws 
How can man become good? 
Man needs social organization for cooperation and for better living. To conquer natural calamities, we must have division of labor to enjoy each other's fruits of labor. Therefore, we need a strong government. 
It is only under the influence of teachers and laws and the guidance of rules and decorum, that courtesy will be observed, etiquette respected and order restored. 
Because people desire and hate the same things and their desires are many, but things are few, there will inevitably be strife. 
The function of li
If people desired and hated different things, e.g. some liked to conquer and some liked to be conquered, there would be no problem. But since it doesn't work that way, limits must be imposed. This is the function of li, that is, regulate and restrain human emotions for the satisfaction of man's desires. 
li refines and beautifies human emotions through ceremonies and rituals. 
emphasis on education; 
emphasis on importance of li; 
de-emphasize importance of individual human being.

So, Which Is Better?

Truth is I do not know. Legalism has its good points but at the wrong hands could be oppressive whilst the Confucius way is a bit too ideal that it will take a God like ruler to abide to the philosophy. But ideally one should have more faith in men. Confucius, the man who dictated that women should have "3 Rules of Obedience and 4 Capabilities" had more faith in men than legalists philosophers but men aren't perfect. At the end of the day there should be a balance between the two, that perhaps men are born into this world with an empty mind and it will be shaped by events, social upbringing and education, instead of saying men are born good or men are born evil. Law and rules should cater to these varied possibilities of human nature which is not as easy to be defined as ABC. We are complex creatures and laws should reflect such complexities without denying our basic and fundamental rights, a right to live as a decent and trustworthy human being who makes mistakes, most of the time and someone who is capable of as much of goodness as in evil.