Thursday, January 28, 2010

175. Early American Borderlands

It is my great pleasure to tell you that Dr. Wang is going to talk about the Influences from the East at the conference "Early American Borderlands," which will take place in St. Augustine, FL, 12-15 May 2010. In the following please find the main content of his speech.

During formative era of American culture, founding fathers of United States, including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, borrowed with the wisdom of learning from foreign cultures, positive elements from Chinese civilization. Franklin regarded Confucius moral philosophy as his guideline in his efforts to cultivate his virtue. Jefferson borrowed certain Chinese architectural designs, such as the railings below the dome and surrounding the walkways.

The virtual consensus among the founding generation of American statesmen was to "pursue a political destiny separate from Europe." Jefferson, who believed a building was not merely a walled structure, but a metaphor for American ideology, and the process of construction was equal to the task of building a nation, incorporated Chinese architectural style in his creation of a new style-Jeffersonian Style, which is still popular today. The founding fathers' endeavor attested the American desire to build a new culture.

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