Color painting early Chinese philosopher Mengzi.

Mencius

(c. 371 BC - c. 289 BC)

The Chinese philosopher Mencius lived during the tumult of the Warring States period and became known as “the Second Sage” after Confucius, whose thought he spent his life studying, interpreting, and codifying. Believing that a good government provided material well-being and moral education, Mencius said, “The people are the most important element in a nation; the spirits of the land and grain come next; the sovereign counts for the least.” He advocated for land reform, tax reduction, and pensions.

All Writing

If a king loves music, there is little wrong in the land.

—Mencius , c. 330 BC

All people have the common desire to be elevated in honor, but all people have something still more elevated in themselves without knowing it.

—Mencius , c. 330 BC

Is it only the mouth and belly which are injured by hunger and thirst? Men’s minds are also injured by them.

—Mencius , 300 BC

The root of the kingdom is in the State. The root of the State is in the family. The root of the family is in the person of its Head.

—Mencius , c. 270 BC

Issues Contributed