hundred schools of thought), when Confucius , Mo-ti, Lao Tzu , Mencius , and Chuang-tzu lived, debated, and responded to the turmoil with creative ideas. In the second half of the dynasty, striking social and economic changes also took place. Iron implements were introduced from W and central Asia, the ox-drawn plow was first used, and large irrigation and water-control projects were instituted, resulting in increased crop yields in N China. Trade developed as cities grew in number and size and roads and canals were constructed. Chou society was sharply divided between the aristocratic warrior class and the peasant masses and domestic slaves. Writers of the anarchic period that followed it pictured the early Chou as an age of well-ordered beneficent feudalism, but this may merely reflect their own desire for political unity. Toward the end of the period, the rigid feudal class system was gradually weakened, the hereditary power of the aristocrats was minimized, and there was more social mobility.
See C.-Y. Hsu, Ancient China in Transition (1965) H. G. Creel, The Origins of Statecraft in China (Vol. 1, 1970).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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