Characteristics of a Good Ruler, Essay Sample for Your Inspiration

Published: 2022-08-26
Characteristics of a Good Ruler, Essay Sample for Your Inspiration
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Leadership style
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 896 words
8 min read

Ruling is a combination of many elements and characteristics that are necessary in ensuring that your subjects; loves and respect you in equal measure. A good ruler is one who stands at the forefront in the battlefield, he commands respect, envy and everyone is at awe of his reign. He/she is all about the people and their wellbeing, putting himself last in every decision. A good ruler is one who's self and individuality is eaten up by the need of society, and he desires that all he does is for the benefit of the people rather than himself. This paper is aimed at identifying the characteristics of a good ruler while utilizing Dong Zhongshu's Responsibilities of Han Rulership (2000 BCE).

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It begins by identifying that a good ruler is one who reveres the foundations of existence and all living things. These include Heaven, Earth, and humankind. It is simply regarding and respecting true worship as is practiced by the subjects. The Han had particular respect for what constituted the foundation of existence and a good ruler was one who was akin to this fact and paid more attention and revered them the most. According to the text, the ruler attended to the three foundations diligently, respectfully and with the utmost care. Heaven gives birth; the Earth nourishes whereas man completes the foundation with rites and music. The ruler identifies that these three act in unison and nothing exists without the other (Barry & Bloom, 1999).

With regards to the heavens, a good ruler dutifully took up the role of the high priest for the people as he enacted the suburban sacrifices reverently. Furthermore, he led his people with much respect to the ancestors and the gods to teach the subjects about loving one another, the subjects to conduct themselves in a manner that does not bring any wrath from the gods or the ancestors and teaches them to respect the heavens and do according to what the heavens dictate. He revers the heavens and ensures that the people honor and obey so that the heavens can look kindly upon them. It is a form of religion, and the ruler acts as the leader of the religion and conducts worship whenever necessary. It is important to ensure that whatever one does is not in contravention with the divine principles as they are what guide the people every day. Indeed, every occurrence has a reason, and the foundations of heaven are the cause for all things. It is, therefore, important to ensure that the heavens are with the ruler and with the people to protect and bless everything that they do (Barry & Bloom, 1999).

A good ruler also identifies the mother earth as the source of all things that are required to sustain life. The Earth is the foundation of life and through it does the world get what it requires to get by. Everything in the world is found in the Earth, and its source is the Earth itself. By identifying this and putting his/her energy in tilling and ploughing the land until it brings out what is necessary for survival, the ruler serves the foundation of the Earth. A good ruler is one who has been able to sufficiently fend for the people by domesticating plants and animals. The ruler is also able to widen the boundaries of his reign to be able to fully meet the needs of the people. It is through identifying that the Earth is our mother and from it comes the source of food does a good ruler achieve the best for his/her people (Barry & Bloom, 1999).

A good ruler also identifies the need to reinforce the mindset and understanding of humankind. He/ She is one who identifies that humankind is also an important foundation for the world and bettering humanity is the best way of meeting this foundation. As such, a good ruler is one who looks at the establishment of schools and academies all over the region and uses education to enlighten the people. Education can teach people about love, reverence, humility and at the same time enlightens them. Rites that are important for meeting the first foundation of Heaven are also taught to the people, and the people are enlightened, gain knowledge and skill for living in this world. The foundation of humanity is met by showing the people the ways of meeting the other foundations for the future. It is no wonder it applies more to the young (Barry & Bloom, 1999).

In conclusion, a good ruler according to Dhong Zhongshu is one who respects God, the Earth, and his fellow mankind. By ensuring that one is in the right standing with the heavens, the people will be protected against calamities and will receive blessings from the heavens. The ruler also identifies the Earth as the source of all that is needed for survival and puts efforts to ensure that he/she gets the best from the Earth. The ruler is also aware of his/her fellow man as an important foundation and is interested in enlightening the people and ensuring that they utilize their skill for the benefit of the other people. The understanding of the foundations of life form the characteristics of a good ruler.


Barry, T. D., & Bloom, I. (1999). Sources of Chinese Tradition (1st ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.

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