Tianming – Mandate of Heaven

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Signs that a particular ruler had lost the Mandate of Heaven included peasant uprisings, invasions by foreign troops, drought, famine, floods, and earthquakes. Of course, drought or floods often led to famine, which in turn caused peasant uprisings, so these factors were often interrelated.

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Although the Mandate of Heaven sounds superficially similar to the European concept of the "Divine Right of Kings," in fact it operated quite differently. In the European model, God granted a particular family the right to rule a country for all time, regardless of the rulers' behavior. The Divine Right was an assertion that God essentially forbade rebellions - it was a sin to oppose the king.

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In contrast, the Mandate of Heaven justified rebellion against an unjust, tyrannical, or incompetent ruler. If a rebellion was successful in overthrowing the emperor, then it was a sign that he had lost the Mandate of Heaven and the rebel leader had gained it. In addition, unlike the hereditary Divine Right of Kings, the Mandate of Heaven did not depend upon royal or even noble birth. Any successful rebel leader could become emperor with Heaven's approval, even if he was born a peasant.

Zhou leaders claimed that the Shang emperors had become corrupt and unfit, so Heaven demanded their removal. When Zhou authority crumbled in turn, there was no strong opposition leader to seize control, so China descended into the Warring States Period c. It was reunified and expanded by Qin Shihuangdi , beginning in , but his descendants quickly lost the Mandate.

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Mandate of Heaven - Ancient History Encyclopedia

This cycle continued through the history of China, as in when the Ming Dynasty lost the Mandate and was overthrown by Li Zicheng's rebel forces. A shepherd by trade, Li Zicheng ruled for just two years before he was in turn ousted by the Manchus , who founded the Qing Dynasty , China's final imperial dynasty.

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Brenda How did the Mandate of Heaven develop? The Zhou dynasty came to power when a Zhou ruler overthrew the last Shang ruler and established the Zhou dynasty, which ruled longer than any other Chinese dynasty BCE.

Europa Universalis IV - Mandate Of Heaven Edition