The collapse of the Zhou dynasty brought on what was perhaps the most influential era of Chinese history. Generation after generation sought to reconcile the Chinese people and end the constant battle for power that went on during this period, in which a formal governmental system was almost completely absent. From this gloomy stage of ancient Chinese heritage formed a new wave of thinking and ideas that had never existed before.
The Era of the Warring States, which is what the time between the Zhou demise and the stabilization of China is now called, brought about an influx of literary and artistic talent. Because of the constant warfare and the desperate need for reform, philosophers, artists, writers and historians felt the urge to have their voices heard. This brought about a great deal of innovative work in each of these areas. Among some of the most notable contributions are the formations of Legalism and Daoism.
Perhaps the most substantial contribution that this era has brought to world history is that of Confucianism. Confucius, the leader of this new way of thought, believed that all people should be submissive to their leaders in order to preserve the peace. This meant that all subjects were faithful to their kings, all slaves were obedient to their masters, all women were obedient to the wills of their husbands, and so on. This philosophy is often attributed to the fact that Confucius lived during a time when social and political roles were not clearly defined. He was a witness to the destruction that can develop from a society filled with individuals who have no clear cut function, and no hope for any real goals to be accomplished. He formed this school of thought out of his desire to see a united country form in his homeland. His teachings were used as the foundation of the new government that eventually formed in China, and they are still used today as the basis of the modern Chinese government and culture in some form or another.
China’s modern success as becoming a world “superpower” cannot be ignored. After having emerged from the Era of the Warring States centuries ago, it expanded its’ military and governmental knowledge and more recently became a heavily populated hub for technological, economic, and political advancements. It is said by some that this success can be attributed to its’ government’s centuries-long adherence to the ancient philosophies that were created during its’ bloodiest time period. This is proof that the human mind will create out of necessity what is needed for advancement in all areas of life. This era, although painful for the ancient Chinese to endure, played an extremely significant part in the formation of one of the world’s oldest cultural systems.