Sunday, August 24, 2014
Benjamin Franklin and the Great Wall of China, at Benjamin Franklin House in London. The house is the only museum in London for this great founding father of the United States. Franklin lived in this house from 1757 to 1775. Most readers of my blog have been amazed by Franklin's vision to use valuable elements from Chinese civilization in his efforts to build a great nation in North America. I don't remember if any other prestigious figures in North American colonies raised the notion of the Great Wall of China around the founding of the United States.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Monday, August 11, 2014
Dave Wang, PhD — manager of Queens Library in Laurelton — said the early Americans saw ginseng “as a valuable opportunity to break their economic blockage by Britain” (e-mail, April 23, 2012). Other sources document the Empress as an attempt to establish a new source of tea, which was becoming dearly missed after the United States was banned from trading with the British West Indies. Meanwhile, China also had a need for new ginseng sources. Though the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) first sought to protect the region’s ginseng populations by controlling collection, it eventually gave up that mission. “[The Empress] triumphed because it made it there and back, and made a profit, which was never guaranteed at that point in time. Economically, it was important in terms of making contact between the US and China,” said Taylor, noting a Congressional resolution, passed after the Empress’s return, encouraging more such ventures. According to Dr. Wang, American ginseng “was the most important commercial good in the trade between China and the United States during the late 1700s leading into the early 1800s.” The above paragraph is from Lindsay Stafford' s article, First US-China Trade Ship Carried 30 Tons of American Ginseng Helped Establish American Identity and Roots of International Trade. It is available on line from this link.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
As the main designers of the new nation, the founders knew that it took more than a perfect plan of government to preserve liberty. They needed some moral principles accepted by the people to encourage them to obey laws voluntarily. They recognized that a free government should be supported by people who could act morally without compulsion, and would not willfully violate the rights of others. Benjamin Franklin firmly believed that "Laws without morals are in vain. (quid leges sine moribus vanae proficient)" Cultivating new virtues for the fledgling United States therefore became one of the most significant themes during this time of social and political transformation. With this notion in mind, the founders turned to Confucian moral philosophy.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
I found the poster that promotes Dr. Dave Wang's speech on Benjamin Franklin and Confucian Moral Philosophy in Rome, Italy several years ago. It reflects the fact that the Italians are very interested in how Confucius moral philosophy influenced Franklin, the giant icon of American culture. Dr. Dave Wang still remembers the good questions raised from the floor during his presentation. Some scholars from Universities and the Center for American Studies in Rome had a great discussion with Dr. Dave Wang.
In the 18th century colonial society, the impact of Confucius was widely discussed in the North American colonies. Some eminent colonists, including Benjamin Franklin, expressed their respect for the philosopher. Franklin followed Confucius’ procedure for moral cultivation and started to develop his own virtues as early as 1727. Franklin saw it as his responsibility to spread Confucius’ moral teachings. He published some excerpts from Morals of Confucius in his widely circulated Pennsylvania Gazette in 1737 . Franklin also made it clear that he regarded Confucius as his role model in 1749. In August 1775, just before the eve of the Independence, Thomas Paine revealed a vital and informed interest in China. He published a series of works about China in the Pennsylvania Magazine.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
【侨报记者管黎明6月20日纽约报道】以研究美国建国之父们 (US Founders) 与中国的经济文化渊源而著称的纽约华人学者王小良 (Dave Wang) 近来再次受到美国学术界的关注，他的《孔子与美国的建国：美国开国元勋致力用孔子的道德哲学》（CONFUCIUS IN THE AMERICAN FOUNDING: THE FOUNDERS’ EFFORTS TO USE CONFUCIAN MORAL PHILOSOPHY IN THEIR ENDEAVOR TO CREATE NEW VIRTUE FOR THE NEW NATION）在最新一期《弗吉尼亚亚洲研究评论》（VIRGINIA REVIEW OF ASIAN STUDIES）上发表。富兰克林的第八代后裔马克斯•卡乌森教授 Mark Skousen) 也致函王小良，表示要在《富兰克林后裔报道》中开设专栏。 目前在皇后区Laurelton图书馆担任馆长的王小良表示，开国元勋们对孔子的情有独钟可以从《美国宪法》之父、《人权宣言》的作者詹姆斯•麦迪逊James Madison (1751-1836）的家中看出。他在自己的家里特地悬挂了孔子的画像。而美国革命的主要推动者之一、对动员殖民地人民起来革命起到至关重要作用的小册子《常识》Common Sense的作者，托马斯•潘恩Thomas Paine (1737-1809)，则将孔子同耶稣基督、苏格拉底置于同等地位。本杰明•富兰克林 Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)被公认为美国精神的创始人，他曾庄严地声明，孔子的道德哲学对整个人类都有价值。托马斯•杰斐逊 Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)，《美国独立宣言》 Declaration of Independence 的主要起草人，将孔子《诗经》中的《魏风》放在自己选编的参考文集里。他一再表明自己要做一个《魏风》中所歌颂的青史留名，为人民所怀念的领袖。其他的主要开国元勋，比如约翰•亚当斯 John Adams (1735-1826)，本杰明•拉什 Benjamin Rush (1746-1813)，在设计美国未来发展蓝图时，对孔子的道德哲学也做了高度评价。这些开国元勋们号召美国人民从孔子道德哲学中汲取营养，提升自己的个人道德。那么，问题是，开国元勋为什么对孔子道德哲学感兴趣呢？ 王小良认为，对孔子的道德哲学和美国开国元勋所要求的个人的道德的内容加以对比，人们就会发现，两者有很多的相同。开国元勋的个人道德的主要内容包括以诚待人，对家庭真诚，负责，节制个人愿望。可以看出，孔子主张的个人道德，仁，义，智，信，恕等同开国元勋们要求的公民个人道德非常接近。开国元勋们所要求的个人道德素质，都可以在孔子的道德哲学中找到。开国元勋们相信，一个充满仁爱、有道德的人更会支持追求全民幸福的理念。波士顿大学教授麦克•克莱尔（Michal Clair）特地写信向王小良表示，“我发现你的论文真的太有吸引力了。对我来说，你的论文给我打开了很多新的研究领域。我非常钦佩你的原创视角。《美国建国与孔子》这篇论文打开了我的新思路。” 王小良早年在西雅图的华盛顿大学作访问学者，后来于1993到2000年在亚利桑纳大学先后获得硕士和博士学位。他目前是纽约皇后区图书馆Laurelton分馆的馆长，之前担任赫利斯（Hollis）分馆馆长。他的研究成果曾获得众多美国学术期刊的关注和报道 下面我列出一些推介王小良博士研究成果的报道： 王小良开创性研究受美国学界瞩目 中国文化影响美国 王小良研究受主流关注 王小良和“美国开国元勋与中国”研究 中国文化影响美国 王小良研究受主流关注 研究美國開國元勳與中國淵源 王小良入選夏威夷州歷史教育理事會 中國文化影響美國 美国开国元勋富兰克林对孔子的高度评价 孔子思想对北美殖民地社会的影响——本杰明富兰克林对孔子的评价 王小良新作揭示鲜为人知历史 花旗参对中美文化影响深远 美国国父也有中国梦