‘Confucianism in practice’ shows how Confucianism was played out in everyday family life, in the moral education of peasants and elite alike, and in the administration of the state. Premodern Chinese society and politics were heavily guided by Confucian principles. Prior to the thirteenth century, civil service examination candidates were expected to demonstrate mastery of the Five Classics. In 1313, with the growing influence of the Zhu Xi school, the government decreed the Four Books would now serve as the basis of the examinations. Despite undergoing frequent change and reform, the system remained intact for nearly fifteen hundred years and was a powerful force in shaping and sustaining China's cultural and social norms.