Liu Bei 劉備 (Mandarin pronunciation: [ljou pei]; 161 – 10 June 223), courtesy name Xuande, was a warlord in the late Eastern Han dynasty who founded the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period and became its first ruler. Despite early failings compared to his rivals and lacking both the material resources and social status they commanded, he gathered support along disheartened Han loyalists who objected to Cao Cao's reign over the emperor and led a popular movement to restore the Han dynasty through this support. Liu Bei overcame his many defeats to carve out his own realm, which at its peak spanned present-day Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunan, parts of Hubei, and parts of Gansu.
Culturally, due to the popularity of the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, Liu Bei is widely known as an ideal benevolent, humane ruler who cared for his people and selected good advisers for his government. His fictional counterpart in the novel was a salutary example of a ruler who adhered to the Confucian set of moral values, such as loyalty and compassion. Historically, Liu Bei like many Han rulers was greatly influenced by Laozi. He was a brilliant politician and leader whose skill was a remarkable demonstration of a Legalist. Liu Bei's somewhat Confucian tendencies were also dramatized compared to his rival states' founders Cao Pi and Sun Quan, who both ruled as pure Legalists. His political philosophy can best be described by the Chinese idiom "Confucian in appearance but Legalist in substance" (simplified Chinese: 儒表法里; traditional Chinese: 儒表法裡; pinyin: rú biǎo fǎ lǐ; Wade–Giles: ju2 piao3 fa3 li3), a style of governing which had become the norm after the founding of the Han dynasty.