Saturday, August 29, 2015

408. Gouverneur Morris, Woronzow and Macartney's Mission to China


On April 8, 1792, five months before the Macartney's mission started its journey to China. Morris had a conversation with Count Woronzow, Russian ambassador at London. Morris recorded in his diary, "that the British Government have spread all over Europe the most unfavorable impressions respecting America. ...He says the object of Lord Macartney's mission to China is to get some exclusive right to the trade, and that money well employed at Pekin will insure success, the Chinese being the most corrupt, as well as the most cowardly wretches in existence. He says that a leading character in the administration of India affairs was heard to say, in the time when they expected to learn every hour of the fall of Seringapatam, that now was the time to turn their arms against China. "


It is very interesting. The diary shows two important things, the British government planned to bribe the Chinese officials and had prepared for a war against China if the strategy didn't work.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

407. Dr. Dave Wang's Lecture Poster: St. Johns University


One of my readers found the St. Johns University poster that promotes Dr. Dave Wang's lecture on Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy in 2007. This poster reminds me of the history that Dr. Dave Wang's examination of the US founder's connection with Chinese civilization. 2006 marked the 300th-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth (1706-2006) and also marked the national celebration honoring the life and enduring legacy of one of our most remarkable founding fathers. Dr. Dave Wang's Paper Benjamin Franklin and China---A Survey of BenjaminFranklin’s Efforts at Drawing Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization during theFormative Age of the United States was published by the office website of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary.
In 2009,  Tom Kuntz, the writer of 30 years for the New York Times, wrote "We think of Benjamin Franklin as sage transmitter of the Western European tradition to the early American way of life. But, a Chinese-American academic writes, his correspondence and papers suggest lifelong influences from Chinese culture, “from Confucius philosophy to industrial technologies.” [ResetDoc]



Saturday, August 8, 2015

406. The Dry Rice and Jefferson's Efforts to Improve Slave's Life



In his paper, Asian Dry Rice and the Slave's Living Environment: Thomas Jefferson's Efforts to Transplant the Rice to the United States, Dr. Dave Wang examined the efforts that Thomas Jefferson made aiming to improve slave's working and living condition.
 
While summarizing what he considered to be his greatest contribution to the world, Thomas Jefferson ranked his effort to introduce dry rice from East Asia into South Carolina in as high regard as his drafting of the Declaration of Independence. One author pointed out that Thomas Jefferson‘s interests in introducing Asian plants ―tied up with the agricultural and horticultural needs of the United States.  This is partially true because the author failed in realizing or ignored the more important reasons of Thomas Jefferson‘s efforts to bring Asian dry rice into North America. Indeed, Jefferson was an agriculturalist. However, Dr. Dave Wang’s recent research on Jefferson and Asian plants has revealed the fact that the introduction of dry rice reflected an important message: Jefferson had social value in his mind when he made his commitment to introduce the Asian plants into the United States.

Jefferson‘s efforts to transplant the dry rice revealed his determination to have it succeeded in the new nation, similar to how the other founding fathers, worked tirelessly to draw nourishments from Chinese civilization. However, Dr. Dave Wang’s examination of Jefferson‘s efforts to introduce Asian dry rice to the United States had led to his  finding of new reasons why the founding father worked hard to borrow from Asian cultures. There was an important agenda in Jefferson‘s mind to uplift the life quality of slaves. He had stated that one of his intentions of obtaining dry rice was ―for the purpose of improving the living conditions of the slaves and saving them from the ravages of disease that swept the Low Countries.

Jefferson‘s long term effort was driven by his following thinking: if the wet rice was replaced by dry rice, ―it would be a great happiness, as it would enable us to get rid of those ponds of stagnant water, so fatal to human health and life. In the meantime, Jefferson‘s connecting the transplanting Asian plants with his effort for bettering slaves working condition reveals another function of Asian civilization in the United States--help improve slave's life quality.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

405. Dr. Dave Wang's Works have been Used as High School History Text Book


In his history class, China's Relations with the United States the Chair of the History Department of the well-known Loomis Chaffee School at Windsor, Connecticut, Robert Andrian used  as teaching text book Dr. Dave Wang's works on the Chinese cultural influence on the early development of the United States.

"It should be pointed out that both before and after the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers were attracted to Chinese philosophy, technology and trade. Confucian moral ideals, for example, were respected at a time when leaders in the U.S. were interested in not blindly following in Europe's footsteps. Thomas Jefferson expressed "the desirability of Chinese isolation and of the need to place an ocean of fire between us and the old world." (Dr. Dave Wang, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States Education about Asia, Fall, 2011, p.11)

Chinese heating technology influenced Benjamin Franklin and led to the more efficient Pennsylvania Fireplace and ultimately the Franklin stove. Cold winters became less harsh for many. Chinese porcelain was very popular among American well-heeled families, and Benjamin Rush among others, believed that domestic Chinese porcelain manufacturing was a key to national economic self-reliance and overcoming the colonists' dependence on British imports. According to St. John's Professor David Wang, "the American China Manufactory in Philadelphia became noted for its quality, and more importantly, succeeded in cultivating patriotism as it challenged Britain's monopoly of the product and indirectly contributed to the struggle for independence." (Dr. Dave Wang, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States Education about Asia, Fall, 2011, p.8.) 

 When Franklin found Chinese soybeans, rhubarb seeds and tallow trees in England, he sent them along to the colonies. The tallow trees were useful in making soap and candles among other things. And, as can be seen in the accompanying photo of Monticello, Jefferson incorporated Chinese railings in his architectural design.  

The new nation needed to cultivate new trading partners to help propel economic growth. European countries were willing to export to but not import from the U.S. The Empress of China maiden voyage to Canton in 1784 inaugurated a vigorous U.S.-China maritime trade, and was, as Richard Henry Lee put it, "proof of American enterprise, and will probably mortify, as much as it will injure our old oppressor, the British." (Dr. Dave Wang, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States Education about Asia, Fall, 2011, p.9)  

Jefferson believed that the China trade could separate the U.S. from Britain. In 1785 two American ships went to China; in 1806, 42 made the voyage. By 1795, the U.S. was ahead of all its European rivals except Britain in terms of volume of trade with China. New York and New England commercial and financial elites began to prosper."




Monday, July 20, 2015

404. Dr. Dave Wang's Paper has been used as Guidelines to Refurnish Museums


Cragfont Frontier Mansion is a state historical house museum in Summer County, Tennessee. The Cragfont house was built between 1798 and 1802 by James Winchester. The Center for Historic Preservation worked to restore the museum. Ms. Rachel McCreery and Ms. Savannah Grandey from Middle Tennessee State University were entrusted to make a furnishing plan for the house. Their contributions continue the work of Dr. Carroll Van West’s American Architecture Seminar, which completed a historic structure report. In their report, Ms. Grandey and Ms. McCreery used Dr. Dave Wang's academic paper to formulate their plan. In the following I will quote the paragraph from their widely acclaimed plan:
While not original to the house, it was possible that the Winchesters owned items from China such as the pair of vases found in the dining room. Throughout the colonial era, Chinese goods such as tea, silk, and porcelain were made available to colonists’ through trade with Europe. After independence, dealings with China helped the young nation initiate international trade and ensured a steady flow of Chinese goods into America. Chinaware was held in high esteem by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. Owning Chinaware implied refined taste, a quality that Winchester brought to the Tennessee backcountry. (Dave Wang, “Chinese Civilization and the United States: Tea, Ginseng, Porcelain Ware and Silk in Colonial America,” Virginia Review of Asian Studies (2012): 114, 121-4.)”





 

 

 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

403. Dr. Dave Wang's Paper In Italian


Dr.Dave Wang's Paper, Benjamin Franklin and Chinese Civilization has been translated into Italian.



Scholarship on the study of Benjamin Franklin for the past two centuries shows that Franklin’s “legacy had a distinctive place in American culture.” He is a figure we want to understand if we want to understand the American character. We owe much to him for the formation of the civilization we call American civilization today. No other figure has had such a clear vision concerning the future of American civilization and how American civilization could grow out of European civilization. In the long process of “the breaking of the old world,” Franklin wanted to turn himself from being a European “to be American.” How to be an American? Or put it in another way, how to build an American civilization? I believe that Franklin’s efforts to draw positive elements from Chinese civilization in the course of building an American civilization carried much weight in Franklin’s contribution to the formation of American civilization. With the great vision in the “narrow eighteenth-century ideas about other cultures,” Franklin “kept his eyes open to a “world that went far beyond the wharves jutting out into Boston Harbor and far beyond the canons of Puritanism.” Franklin told us that he “was very fond of reading about China.” His statement was very true. His correspondence and miscellaneous papers throughout his life indicate that he was amazed in Chinese culture. He explored almost every aspect of Chinese civilization, from spiritual to material.

Friday, July 10, 2015

402. Dr. Dave Wang's Research Selected by Great Resources for A Class Room Day




In his work of over several years,  Dr. Dave Wang has explored Chinese culture and the early development of the United States, particularly the efforts of eminent colonists, including the founding fathers, who worked hard to draw nourishments from traditional Chinese Civilization. Dr. Wang has written recently an excellent article titled "The US Founders and China: TheOrigins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States," useful forthe Chinese-American community and teachers and students interested in their roots in early America. It is a must-have resource for education about Asia. ( Permission to use has been granted by: Peggy Creswell, Managing Editor, EducationAbout Asia. 302 Pfeiffer Hall, Dept. 2222 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, TN 37403. Phone (423)425-2118, Fax (423)425-5441. Website:  http://www.asian-studies.org/EAA/