Despite being one of the least militarily ambitious dynasties in Chinese history, the Song dynasty saw one of the strongest manifestations of loyalism in its final years. It was also during the Song that the Neo-Confucian school was established and gaining increasingly more influence, culminating in its crowning of the state orthodoxy in the mid-thirteenth century. This paper seeks to trace the unprecedented surge of loyalism during the Song to Neo-Confucian influences. Being the official teaching of the Civil Examination system, Neo-Confucianism guided the loyalists with its rangyi nationalistic sentiment and categorical emphasis on virtues like loyalty and righteousness. The Neo-Confucianists also expressed their philosophy in their historical writings, which both incited the loyalist acts and influenced later historians’ perception of the loyalists, creating a historiographical bias in favor of them. This paper also includes two specific case studies of Wen Tianxiang and Feng Dao, in an attempt to grasp the change of tides in the values of historiography resulting from the growth of Neo-Confucianism.
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