Monday, April 30, 2007

042.Trust Watch Carried the Information on Dr. Wang's Speech on Benjamin Franklin

TrustWatch carries the information of Dr. Wang's speech on Benjamin Franklin's efforts to use Confucius moral philosophy to purify his own virtue.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

041.DaVinci Society published the Information on Dr. Wang's Speech

DaVinci: Socity carried the News that Dr. Wang's academic speech on Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy.

040.Dr. Wang's Speech Schedule 王博士演讲时间表

07. August 2008, Jilin Normal University, Siping, China, 2008年8月,中国四平市
06. November 2007, Canada Association for American Studies in Montreal, Canada,you could find his presentation schedule here, 2007 年11月,加拿大蒙特列市
05. September 2007, Third World Congress of American Studies, organized by the International American Studies Association, at the University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal 2007年9月葡萄牙,里斯本市
04. April 2007, 2007 Spring Academic Series, St. Johns University, New York, the United States 2007年4月,圣约翰大学,美国纽约市
03. October 2006, International Conference for Franklin's 300th Anniversary, The Italian National Center for American Studies, Rome, Italy 2006年10月,意大利罗马市
02. September 2006, The US-China Relations Academic Conference, organized by U.S.-China Forum, St. Johns University 2006年9月,美国纽约市
01. September 2006, Franklin Friendship Association Program, New York, the United States 2006年9月,美国纽约市

Thursday, April 26, 2007

039.Hybridization-Cultural Influence

According to one research, Cultural interactions are gradually morphing cultures of the past into new cultures, incorporating elements of the original culture with element of the foreign culture. This process is commonly refereed to as Hybridization. This was exactly what happened in the process of the formation of American civilization. American civilization is not simple extension of European civilization. It incorporated other civilizations, including Chinese civilization, in its formative age. Even today, researchers and writers world wide still find the influence of Chinese civilization on American civilization. As for the detail, please read this paper.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

038.Benjamin Franklin's Way Respected and Practiced

Franklin made great contribution to the formation of the United States of America. Especially, his effort at cultivating his virtue and promoting others to enhance their morals has left us a permanent legacy, which really reflected in the attitudes of the community of Virginia Tech towards Seung-Hui Cho. I read the report in today's New York Times, the community built a memorial for Seung-Hui Cho, the gunman who killed himself after shooting 32 students and teachers to death. (Christine Hauser, Virginia Tech Sets Out to Preserve Objects of Grief, Love and Forgiveness, New York Times, April 25, 2007, A19) Tolerance and forgiveness were the spirits Franklin constantly worked hard to possess and work hard to promote. Franklin talked about the importance of tolerance in his life. He said when he was in London, he was "among strangers, remote from the eyes of my father" The tolerance had significantly helped him "tho' this dangerous of time." He stated that "I had therefore a tolerable character to begin the world with, I valued it properly , and determined to preserve it."

Monday, April 23, 2007

035.Schedule of Dr. Dave Wang's Speech on Benjamin Franklin and Chinese Civilization

01. August 2008, Jilin Normal University, Siping China
02 September 2007, Third World Congress of American Studies, organized by the International American Studies Association, at the University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
03 April 2007, 2007 Spring Academic Series, St. Johns University, New York, the United States
04 October 2006, International Conference for Franklin's 300th Anniversary, The Italian National Center for American Studies, Rome, Italy
05 September 2006, The US-China Relations Academic Conference, organized by U.S.-China Forum, St. Johns University
06 September 2006, Franklin Friendship Association Program, New York, the United States

034.Why Did Benjamin Franklin State that He Regarded Confucius as His Example

Benjamin Franklin stated in his letter to George Whitefield in 1749 that he regarded Confucius as his example. Franklin's statement raised two quesionts for us. The first one is that why did he regard Confucius as his example and the second why did he not state in his widely read autobiography that he would imitate Confucius (he did state that he would imitate Jesus and Socrates). This seemed a contradiction. Who could provide us with satisfied answers to the above two quesions?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

033.St Johns University Welcomes Ben and Confucius Moral Philosophy

The Academic lecture on Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy was a great success on April 20, 2007. Dr. Dave Wang prepared 25 handouts for the lecture. However, more than 50 people showed up. The classroom was full and some of the audience had to stand around the entrance. Dr. Wang was surprised at seeing such a big crowd.

032.A Paper of Exploring Ben's Moral

Some author studies Ben's moral. You may find it interesting. To be honest, I haven't read it yet. Any of you have read, please tell us what do you think about it.

031.St Johns University Spring Academic Lecture Series

Dr. Dave Wang gave a lecture about Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy at St Johns University. More information could be obtained through this link.

030.Dr. Wang will give a speech on Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy in China

Dr. Dave Wang will deliver his speech on Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy in Jilin Normal University in Siping, China in August, 2008.

029.Dr. Dave Wang Will Talk about the Founding Fathers and China in Europe

In September 2007 Dr. Wang will deliver his speech on The Founding Fathers of the Uniated States and Chinese Civilization in Lisbon, Portugal.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

028.An Article Carried in the World Journal: The largest Chinese Newspaper in North America

王曉浪生長於中國東北,畢業自長春的東北師範大學,之後他在吉林社會科學院做中美關係研究。在訪問約翰霍普金斯大學(Johns Hopkins University)及華盛頓大學(University ofWashington)後,他決定留美求學,自亞利桑納大學(University of Arizona)取得圖書館碩士及歷史學博士學位。
2000年博士畢業後,王曉浪來到紐約市並受雇於皇后區公共圖書館。目前他擔任荷里斯(Hollis)分館館長,並在皇后區聖若望大學(St. Johns University)執教。
王曉浪最初在溫莎公園分館(Windsor Park)做圖書館員,不到一年升為副館長,後被調到南荷里斯分館(South Hollis),不久被提升為館長。他自2005年擔任荷里斯分館館長。

Thursday, April 19, 2007

027.The Official Website for Benjamin Franklin's 300th Anniversaty Carries the Paper Benjamin Franklin and China

Benjamin Franklin and China---A Survey of Benjamin Franklin’s Efforts at Drawing
Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization during the Formative Age
of the United States

Dave Wang Ph.D
Manager of Hollis Library
Adjunct Professor of St. Johns University

Benjamin Franklin “has a special place in the hearts and minds of
Americans.”1 How special it is? His story has been regarded as “the story of the birth of America - an America this man discovered in himself, then helped create in the world at large.”2 He certainly was “the most eminent mind that has ever existed in America.”3 Americans show respect to him because he was “generous, openminded, learned, tolerant” in the formative period of the United States – a special period in American history, a “period eminent for narrowness, superstition, and
bleak beliefs.”4 He had a clear vision of the road America should take and he spent time in helping to make sure that it would be achieved.5 His ideas and visions helped to lay the foundation for the United States of America, as we know it today.

1 Gordon S. Wood, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, New York: Penguin
Press, 2004, p.1
2 Alan Taylor, For the Benefit of Mr. Kite, in New Republic, March 19, 2001, vol. 224
issue 12, p.39.
3 Carl Van Doren, “Meet Doctor Franklin,” in Charles L. Sanford ed., Benjamin Franklin
and the American Character, D. C. Heath and Company, 1961. Boston, p.27.
4 Phillips Russell, Benjamin Franklin: The First Civilized American, Blue Ribbon Books,
New York, 1926, 126, p.1.
5 Benjamin Franklin: Glimpses of the Man,

Franklin is a figure we want to understand if we want to understand the
American character.6 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. Scholarship on the study of Franklin’s image for the past two centuries shows that Franklin’s “legacy had a distinctive place in American culture. Few national heroes have played a more significant posthumous
role in shaping the American way of life than Franklin.”7

Franklin “knew that the breaking of the old world was a long process, in the depths of his own under-consciousness he hated England, hated Europe, and hated the whole corpus of the European being. He wanted to be American.” 8 How to be an American? Or put it in another way, how to build an American civilization? In this paper, I will survey Franklin’s hard work in drawing valuable elements from Chinese civilization, in hit efforts to build an American civilization.

I believe that Franklin’s attempt to draw positive elements from Chinese
civilization in order to build an American civilization carried much weight in Franklin’s contribution to the formation of American civilization. With the great

6 Peter Baida, Poor Richard’s Legacy—American Business Values From Benjamin
Franklin to Donald Trump, William Morrow and Company, Inc, New York, 1990, pp.39-
7 Nian-sheng Huang, Benjamin Franklin in American Thought and Culture, 1790-1990,
Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1994, p.240.
8 D. H. Lawrence, “Benjamin Franklin,” in Studies in Classic American Literature,
Copyright 1961 by the Estate of the late Mrs. Frieda Lawrence. Reprinted by permission
of the Viking Press and Laurence Pollinger Limited, see Brian M. Barbour ed. Benjamin
Franklin: A Collection of Critical Essays, Prentice-Hall Inc, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

vision in the “narrow eighteenth-century ideas about other cultures,”9 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.” 10 Franklin “was very fond of reading about China.”11 His correspondence and miscellaneous papers throughout his life indicate that Franklin was familiar with Chinese culture. It is not beyond the fact to say that Franklin was “the first and foremost American Sinophile” in the United States.12 Franklin was an expert on China, even according to today’s academic standard. His understanding of Chinese
civilization was better and deeper than many of today’s scholars. Franklin explored almost every aspect of Chinese civilization, from spiritual to material. His interest in China included Confucius moral philosophy, industrial product, industrial technologies and agricultural plants. He endeavored to use Confucius moral philosophy to improve his own virtue. Through his autobiography, he tried to pass
on his these personal experiences to the younger generation.
Franklin’s Early Contact with Chinese Civilization During the formative age of the United States, China was not a stranger to the
inhabitants of Britain's north colonies. The information about China "was almost as
9 James Campbell, Recovering Benjamin Franklin—An Explanation of a Life of Science
and Service, Open Court, Chicago and La Salle, Illinois; 1999, p.236.
10 Arthur Bernon Tourtellot, Benjamin Franklin—The Shaping of Genius: The Boston
Years, Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City, New York, 1977, pp.177-178.
11 Benjamin Franklin, “A Letter from China,” in John Biglow ed., The Complete Works of
Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VIII, New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1888, p.474.
12 A. Owen Aldridge, The Dragon and the Eagle: The Presence of China in the American
Enlightenment, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1993, p.25.

widespread and as readily available in America as in Europe."13 By the end of the eighteenth century, every major European work about China "could be found in American libraries and bookstores." 14
Chinese civilization enriched "American life in many, many ways."15 Before American independence, the colonialists had been well aware of China and its products. During the early colonial period Chinese cultural influence in North America was characterized as “novelty".16 For those Americans who lived a Puritan life, China was a source of tea and silk.17 During the mid-eighteenth century, the colonists bought a huge amount of "Chinese Chippendale" furniture, Chinese wallpaper, silk, and porcelain. Some Chinese products, such as chinaware
and less expensive handicrafts "had spread among less affluent sectors of
American society."18 Chinese tea had become a popular drink for the majority of colonists. Significantly, the American Revolution had relations with China. On a famous night in December 1773, the patriots dumped into the Boston harbor the tea from Xiamen (Amoy) in Fujian Province of China, protesting Britain’s control of American trade with China.
13 Ibid., p.264.
14 Ibid.
15 C. Martin Wilbur, "Modern America's Cultural Debts to China," in Issues & Studies: A
Journal of China Studies and International Affairs, vol. 22, No.1, January 1986, p.127.
16 William J. Brinker, Commerce, Culture, and Horticulture: The Beginnings of Sino-
American Cultural Relations,” in Thomas H. Etzold, ed., Aspects of Sino-American
Relations Since 1784, New York and London: New Viewpoints, A Division of Franklin
Watt, 1978, p.11.
17 Tea had become part of daily fare in New England as early as the 1720s, and by the
early 1780s most Americans had acquired the tea-drinking habit. See Michael H. Hunt,
The Making of a Special Relationship: The United States and China to 1914, New York:
Columbia University Press, 1983, p.7.
18 Warren I. Cohen, America's Response to China: A History of Sino-American Relations,
(4th edition), New York: Columbia University Press, 2000, p.2.

In 1723, at the age of seventeen, Franklin moved from Boston to Philadelphia.This was an important move that changed his life forever. Philadelphia had become an “exceptional cosmopolitan center” within the later part of the colonial period.19 It was known as “a town of remarkable intellectual activity.”20 Within the British
Empire, Philadelphia was “the third only to London and Edinburgh in intellectual activity.” 21

It was in Philadelphia where Franklin had the opportunity to access his
knowledge of Chinese civilization. Philadelphia was the center of Chinese culture in North America. In the 18th century, “things Chinese, or in the Chinese style, then began a steady infiltration of the homes of the American city-dwelling merchant.” 22 The Philadelphian inhabitants “had access to more reliable knowledge concerning this aspect of Chinese life than readers anywhere else in the West”.23 It was popular
for the residents of Philadelphia to use Chinese wall paper to decorate their homes. Powel Room, located at 244 South Third Street in Philadelphia, was decorated with beautiful Chinese wall paper.24 Chinese products, including teas, silk, porcelain, and cloth “became part of the social milieu of colonial and post-Revolutionary Philadelphia.”25

19 Jean Gordon Lee, Philadelphians and the China Trade, 1784-1844, Philadelphia
Museum of Art, 1984, p.23.
20 Carl Van Doren, “Meet Doctor Franklin”, in Charles L. Sanford ed., Benjamin
Franklin and the American Character, Boston: D. C. Heath and Company, 1955, p.29.
21 Alan Taylor, “Poor Richard, Rich Ben,” in New Republic, January 13, 2003, vol. 228,
22 Jean Gordon Lee, p.23
23 A Owen Aldridge, p.83.
24 The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City duplicated the room. The original
owner of the House was Charles Stedman (1765-1769) and Samuel Powel (1769-1793).
The room exhibited in the Museum and was located on the second floor of the building.
25 Jean Gordon Lee, p.23.


Powel Room, located at 244 South Third Street in Philadelphia, was decorated with beautiful Chinese wall paper. The Picture was taken by this author in Metropolitan museum of Art in New York City.
It is a well-known fact that the Empress of China, the first American ship to sail to China from the new nation, started its long journey from New York instead of Philadelphia largely because the Delaware River in Philadelphia was frozen in February 1784.26 Actually, we could say that American trade with China was started by the Philadelphians.27 The China trade fever, started by the Empress of China,

26 Ibid, p.11.
27 The sailing of the Empress of China was initiated by John Ledyard (1751-1789), a
famous traveler. Ledyard was believed to be the first United States citizen to see China
with his naked eyes. Impressed by the richness of China and the tremendous profits from
trade with China, Ledyard developed a plan to organize trade between the United States
and China. In early 1783, he came to New York City, to convince the merchants to take
the adventure. Although he failed, Ledyard was not discouraged, and he turned his eyes


was so high in Philadelphia that almost all of the ‘old families’ of the city gained interest in China.28

It was in Philadelphia that Franklin accessed books about China. In 1738,
Franklin studied Description of the Empire of China, published in Paris in 1735 by Du Halde, in which Du Halde collected many kinds of texts about Chinese culture written by Jesuits who had been to China.29
Franklin was deeply impressed by China. Due to the limited communication between China and the United States, Franklin was forced to use extra efforts to collect information on China. Unsatisfied with the books he read, he tried to contact people who had been to China. In order to obtain information on Chinese life and customs, he contacted the “sailors on the Packet who had previously made the trip
to the China seas.”30 Franklin obtained “his knowledge of Chinese navigation from Captain Truxtun who in the following year himself made the voyage to China.” 31 He even tried to visit China personally, and told his friend, “If he were a young man e should like to go to China.” 32

to Philadelphia. With his “revolutionary new plan for China trade,” Ledyard contacted
Robert Morris (1734-1806), the “Financier of the American Revolution,” and currently
Superintendent of Finance of the United States.” Morris accepted the plan. Under
Morris’ support, the Empress of China sailed to China on February 22, 1784.
28 Jean Gordon Lee, p.11.
29 A. Owen Aldridge, p.18.
30 Ibid. p.84.
31 Ibid., p.89.
32 Benjamin Franklin, “A Letter from China,” in John Bigelow ed., The Complete Works
of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VIII, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1888, p.474.
Read more about Benjamin Franklin and China through the following link:

026.Franklin brought the Soybeans to Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin encouraged the colonists to plant Chinese Soy Beans in Penn State. You could find more information on how Chinese soy beans were introduced into North America through the following link.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

025.Exploring Benjamin Franklin's Moral Life

Dr. Dave Wang has his essay, Exploring Benjamin Franklin's Moral Life, published in Franklin Gazette, Volume 17, Number 1, Spring 2007. In his essay Dr. Wang traces the path that Franklin, following Confucius moral precepts, went through in his effort to culitvate his own virtue and promote others to improve their virtue. If you want to get a copy of the paper, please contact Coral Smith, the editor of the gazette, at or Kathy Deluca, the Excutive Director of Benjamin Franklin Association, at

024.Dr. Dave Wang will give a speech on Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy

On April 20th, 2007 St. Johns University in New York City will hold a presentation given by Dr. Wang. It is about Benjamin Franklin's Moral Life Experience. Please find more information concerning the presenation through the following link: