Ancient China Legalism
The triumph of Legalism in the Qin empire (221–207 B.C.E.) was to a certain extent a Pyrrhic victory. Qin's harsh treatment of independent thinkers, which culminated in the burning of privately held book collections, backfired against the Legalist ideology, which lost its popularity among the educated elite. Although Legalist methods and ideas remained influential throughout the imperial millennia, the rulers overtly rejected Legalists' cynicism and anti-intellectualism and their emphasis on constant innovation. In the twentieth century the Legalists' ideas of the powerful state strongly appealed to modern intellectuals, and the school's fame reached its peak during the pro-Legalist campaign in the People's Republic of China in the early to mid-1970s. After Mao Zedong's death in 1976, however, the tide reversed again, and the Legalist contribution to traditional China's polity was again deemphasized.
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