The Dao Against the Tyrant: The Limitation of Power in the Political Thought of Ancient China

Libertarian Papers 5:111-152 (2013)
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In Chinese history the periods known as Spring and Autumn (770-476 BC) and the Warring States (475-221 BC) were times of conflict and political instability caused by the increasing power of centralized and competing states. During this time of crisis many schools of thought appeared to offer different philosophical doctrines. This paper describes and studies ideas about the limitation of power defended by these different schools of ancient Chinese thought, and suggests some reasons why they failed to prevent the emergence of an authoritarian imperial government in early China.
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