Shang Yang's Reforms of the State of Qin-Sequel І
The Spring and Autumn Period ended in 367 BC when three major families of Jin partitioned the state -arguably the most powerful state in the Spring and Autumn Period - into three smaller states, the Han, Zhao and Wei. China had by now moved into the Warring States Period, during which emerged the seven most powerful states - Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao, Wei and Qin, collectively known as the "Seven Warring States."
Qin, a state in western China, lagged behind its peers in the Central Plains in terms of political, economic and cultural development. In 361 BC, Duke Xiaogong of Qin assumed power, resolving to vitalize his state by seeking out talented personnel. He issued an order declaring: "Anyone able to devise ways for the Qin State to prosper, be he a native of Qin or a migrant from another state, shall be given an official post."
The result was that many capable people surged into Qin answering the call of Xiaogong. Among them was an aristocrat of the Wei State called Gongsun Yang, who later became known as Shang Yang. Overlooked in his home country, he came to Qin and was recommended to Duke Xiaogong.
"In order to make a country prosperous and strong, priority should be given to developing agriculture and rewarding people for their service," he told the duke during their meeting. "Reward and punishment are both indispensable to good governance. With reward and punishment, the court maintains its authority, making it easy to carry out reforms."
Completely agreeing with Shang Yang, the duke nominated him as chief advisor. He then drafted a directive to initiate reforms. However, he was unsure whether the general public would trust him and abide by the new laws.