Thursday, December 29, 2011
2012 is coming. It is the perfect time to show my readers Dr. Dave Wang's achievements in his study of the influence of traditional Chinese civilization on the early United States. Many scholars, such as Jeffrey Bingham Mead, have expressed their support to his study.
On December 25, 2011, Mr. Mead, a well-known historian and the founder and president of the History Education Hawaii, told his readers and friends over the world:
"Re-reading Dave Wang's article 'The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States.' From the Fall 2011 edition of Education About Asia. This should be taught in our American and Chinese history courses." This is really great endorsement to Dr. Wang's hard work.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
To borrow from Chinese culture is not a historical story, but a historical tradition started by the founders of the United States. Former President Bill Clinton has tirelessly and earnestly exhorted Americans that “success in the twenty-first century world requires Americans to be curious enough to learn from other countries.”
Clinton’s admonition is of particular significance now that the United States is once again facing tremendous, unprecedented challenges both domestically and abroad. It has been a great tradition of the United States to learn from other countries. I want to show readers how political and military leaders, including the founding fathers of the United States, have used Chinese wisdoms to overcome obstacles on their roads to victories.
In fact, some eminent leaders of the North American colonies paid attention to Chinese culture long before this country was founded. Traditional Chinese civilization has served as a priceless treasure from which the American leaders constantly draw wisdom. Numerous American political leaders, from the US founders to contemporary presidents, have sought enlightenment from traditional Chinese culture.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) was among the first group of colonists who wanted to build a porcelain factory in North America. For Dr. Rush, colonies’ production of porcelain ware was one of the means to overcome the colonies’ dependence on Great Britain for goods and trade. The endeavor of building such a factory was far beyond the porcelain only. It demonstrated the colonists’ determination to be independent from their motherland.
"Go on in encouraging American manufactures. I have many schemes in view with regard to these things. I have made those mechanical arts which are connected with chemistry the particular objects of my study and not without hopes of seeing a china manufactory established in Philadelphia in the course of a few years. Yes, we will be revenged by the mother country. For my part, I am resolved to devote my head, my heart, and my pen entirely to the service of America, and promise myself much assistance from you in everything of this kind that I shall attempt through life."
More information on Chinese cultural influence on the founding fathers is available through reading this article.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
You should be able to find some information on traditional Chinese civilization’s influence on the development of the United States since the founding era of the country through reading this weblog. However, we still feel the effects of the influence of Chinese culture on the United States today.
Like the founders of this country, Americans still draw wisdom from Chinese writings. Some presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Barrack Obama, have quoted teachings from the Chinese classics in their speeches. Indeed,some elements of the Chinese culture are very popular in the United States today.
Though it may be surprising, the ancient Chinese text, Sun Tzu’s Art of War , has been used as teaching material in all American military academies. In designing counterinsurgency strategies, American strategists have considered that Sun Tzu’s strategies would guide American military to victory, but not that of the more contemporary Carl Von Clausewitz, the 19th century German military strategist.
Major Ben Zweibelson, an active duty Infantry Officer, wrote an excellent article, The US in Afghanistan: Follow Sun Tzu rather than Clausewitz to Victory, published in Smallwarjournal.com on December 11, 2010. Major Zweibelson told his readers that the United States has relied on Clausewitzian military “tenets with a faulty emphasis on superior western technology, doctrine fixated on lethal operations, and a western skewed perspective on jus ad bellum (just cause for war).”
After careful examination of the warfare in Afghanistan, Major Zweibelson has come to the conclusion, "To turn this operational failure around, the U.S. military instrument of power should replace the teachings of 19th century German military strategist Carl Von Clausewitz with Ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu.”
Thursday, November 17, 2011
In his article, The myth of America's decline, carried in CNN Los Angeles, Mr. Rob Asghar pointed out that the United States told his readers, “Lao Tzu's "Tao Te Ching," still proudly full of wisdom today, stands as a reminder that disruption, individualism and innovation are inherently heretical in many traditional societies.”
This idea is hardly new. Readers of this weblog are sure to remember Item 176. Ronald Reagan and Laozi Philosophy. I will quote him in the following
"And as an ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu, said: 'Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish; do not overdo it.' Well, these ideas were part of a larger notion, a vision, if you will, of America herself--an America not only rich in opportunity for the individual but an America, too, of strong families and vibrant neighborhoods; an America whose divergent but harmonizing communities were a reflection of a deeper community of values: the value of work, of family, of religion, and of the love of freedom that God places in each of us and whose defense He has entrusted in a special way to this nation."
What I want to point is that the above quotes can serve as an indicator showing that the excellent tradition of drawing positive elements from Chinese civilization started by the founders of this nation has been well maintained by the Americans from its leaders and an ordinary citizen.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
How do we educate younger generation? Currently, there are at least three ways for us to follow, including the ways of The Tiger Mother, The Eagle Father and The Turkey Grand Grand… Father. First, we have to know who they are before we look into their ways to educate our children. By now, everyone should know who the Tiger Mother is.
I heard the news that Tiger Mother's daughter was admitted by Yale University this summer. It seems that Tiger Mother's educational goal was to push her children to the Ivy League Schools. But how about the Eagle Father? The Eagle Father is the husband of my friend. He is European American and works at a University in New York City. His educational philosophy is to give his children a generous environment and let them to decide what school they want to attend. The Eagle Father never pushes his children to study harder than others.
You might feel surprised to find that who The Turkey Grand Grand... Father is. He is none others but Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), one of the great founding fathers of this country. Franklin paid much attention to educate the youth. He donated his time and energy on bringing up useful young people for the world. As a senior, he wrote his autobiography in order to set an example for coming generations. Franklin’s main philosophy on education was that the educational system must produce useful people.
I agree with Franklin’s principle that our purpose of education must focus on usefulness. You might wonder why I call Benjamin Franklin the "Turkey Grand Grand...Father." This is because that Franklin liked Turkey very much. For him, the turkey was a bird with good morality. In his letter to his daughter Sally (Mrs. Sarah Bache), which he wrote in France on January 26, 1784, Franklin pointed out that turkey is "a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on".
Sunday, October 30, 2011
In his essay, titled “Optimistic or Pessimistic About America” Professor Joseph Nye pointed out correctly that “some observers worry that America will become sclerotic like Britain, at the peak of its power a century ago. But American culture is far more entrepreneurial and decentralized than was that of Britain, where the sons of industrial entrepreneurs sought aristocratic titles and honors in London.” It is true that American youths today don’t regard the aristocratic titles as worthwhile to pursue.
What I want to add to the point is that this great tradition was started by the founders of this country, such as Benjamin Franklin. Some Americans wanted to continue the British tradition. However, it was the founders’ wisdom of drawing nourishments from Chinese civilization that guided the United States to the road away from the British tradition.
After the American victory, some veterans wanted permanent recognition for their triumph through formation of an order of hereditary knights. Franklin raised objection to this idea by using Confucius’s principle of social promotion:
Thus among the Chinese, the most antient, and, from long Experience, the wisest of Nations, Honour does not descend but ascends. If a Man from his Learning, his Wisdom or his Valour, is promoted by the Emperor to the Rank of Mandarin, his Parents are immediately intitled to all the same Ceremonies of Respect from the People, that are establish’d as due to the Mandarin himself; on this Supposition, that it must have been owing to the Education, Instruction, and good Example afforded him by his Parents that he was rendered capable of Serving the Publick. This ascending Honour is therefore useful to the State as it encourages Parents to give their Children a good and virtuous Education. But the descending Honour, to Posterity who could have had no Share in obtaining it, is not only groundless and absurd, but often hurtful to that Posterity, since it is apt to make them proud, disdaining to be employed in useful Arts, and thence falling into Poverty and all the Meannesses, Servility and Wretchedness attending it; which is the present case with much of what is called the Noblesse in Europe. " The above quotation is available online from the Papers of Benjamin Franklin.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
In Colonial North America, colonists usually built a fire place in their houses in the cold winter. This practice was neither safe nor efficient. Benjamin Franklin wanted to change that. He worked hard to find a more efficient way to make homes warmer and safer in the 1740s. From his own record we find that he was enlightened by the Chinese heating technology.
In Notes for the Letter on Chimneys (unpublished) in 1758, Franklin revealed his study of the Chinese heating technology. He wrote in the note, “ IT is said the northern Chinese have a method of warming their ground floors, which is ingenious. Those floors are made of tile a foot square and two inches thick, their corners being supported by bricks set on end, that are a foot long and four inches square, the tiles, too, join into each other, by ridges and hollows along their sides. This forms a hollow under the whole floor, which on one side of the house has an opening into the air, where a fire is made, and it has a funnel rising from the other side to carry off the smoke. The fuel is a sulphurous pitcoal, the smell of which in the room is thus avoided, while the floor and of course the room is well warmed.” Franklin, based on the Chinese principles, invented the Pennsylvania Fire Place. Better heating technology made the cold winter less harsh and induced more colonists to move to the North, which later contributed greatly to its development as a manufacturing center.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
The late Professor Herrlee. G. Creel (1905-1994) was the famous specialist in Confucius and his influence on United States founding fathers. In his well-known work, Confucius: The Man and the Myth, he compared the thought of Thomas Jefferson with that of Confucius.
According to Dr. Creel, Confucius and Thomas Jefferson "were alike in their impatience with metaphysics, in their concern for the poor as against the rich, in their insistence on basic human equality, in their belief in the essential decency of all men (including savages), and in their appeal not to authority by to 'the head and heart of every honest man." Professor Creel pointed out that, "Jefferson's statement that 'the whole art of government consists in the art of being honest' is amazingly similar to Analects 12.17, and other such examples could be cited."
Thursday, October 13, 2011
2011-09-28 05:55:18 来源: 《美国侨报》 作者: 管黎明【大 中 小】 浏览:612次 评论:1条 copied from 纽约在线http://www.123nynews.com/bencandy.php?fid=4&id=33126
无论是美国的华人移民还是土生土长的美国人，可能很少有人知道美国最高法院东门顶端的雕像群里，中间的三人之一便是孔子。在皇后区Laurelton图书馆馆长王小良博士(Dave Wang)的眼中，这便是中国文明对美国建国之父影响至深的明证之一。而由田纳西大学出版的针对美国中学和大学老师的教学指导性刊物《亚洲研究》(Education About Asia)，也在最新一期里刊出了王小良博士的长篇学术专著——《美国开国元勋与中国：中华文明对美国影响的缘起》(The US Founders And China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States)。这是继早前《弗吉尼亚亚洲研究》等学术期刊登载王小良的学术论著之后，又一本美国学术期刊介绍他的成果。
美国革命的传奇人物罗伯斯•莫里斯早在1784年便资助了首航中国的船只“中国皇后号”(Empress of China)，正是这次首航的成功才有了之后的中美贸易。对于当时的美国建国者来说，要想在政治上摆脱欧洲的殖民统治却又不得不在贸易上依赖他们，无异于与虎谋皮，因此打通和中国的贸易成为新美国能够生存下去的关键要素之一。
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Dr. Dave Wang has reached another milestone in his study of the historical connections between the US founders and Chinese culture. In its current issue, The Education about Asia (fall 2011), the internationally authoritative teaching resource "for secondary school, college, and university instructors, as well as an invaluable source of information for students, scholars, libraries, and those who have an interest in Asia", published his article, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influences on the United States.
In the following I give you the contact information for your convenience to obtain this very interesting article:
Education About Asia
302 Pfeiffer Stagmaier Hall
615 McCallie Avenue
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: (423) 425-2118
Fax: (423) 425-5441
You also can send email to either Editor: Dr. Lucien Ellington,
Lucien-Ellington@utc.edu or the Managing Editor: Ms. Peggy Creswell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, August 12, 2011
Virginia Review of Asian Studies, one of the best academic journals in the field of Asian studies in the world, published in its 2011 issue, Dr. Dave Wang's long article, Chinese Civilization and the United States: Tea, Ginseng, Porcelain Ware and Silk in Colonial America. I will quote in the following the opening paragraph of his article.
The connection between China and North America can be traced the inception of the American colonies in May of 1609. British colonists, sent by the Virginia Company landed on the north bank of a river they named James Fort (later to be renamed Jamestown), for they believed the river’s headwaters to be “the shortcut to China.” The choosing of Jamestown as the landing spot was not a chance decision, but was made in accordance with instruction given by the Virginia Company. Even the “decisive and stern leadership” of John Smith (1580-1631) was not given “the authority to override” the instruction from the Company, which believed that the James River could lead the colonists to “a shortcut to China.”
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Having read the previous post, “Confucius, Benjamin Franklin and his Friends,” you will know that Franklin’s friends knew very well of his life-long project of using Confucian moral philosophy to purify his virtue. What about his family members? Did they know anything about Confucius?
After careful examination of Franklin’s papers, I can state with certitude that at least one of the family members, William Temple Franklin (1760-1823), Franklin’s grandson, was familiar with Confucius. How do I know? From the letter that Louis-Felix Guinement, chevalier de Kéralio (1731-1790), sent to Temple on September 17, 1783, we can find the prove that Confucius was well-known by Temple and the French writer. He encouraged Temple to pursue knowledge by using Confucian teachings: “Confucius said that it is necessary always to learn, as if one knows nothing.”
The original letter was written in French, therefore, I give out the original version, "Confucius a dit qu’il falloit toujours apprendre, comme si on ne savoit rien."
Monday, July 4, 2011
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) had many skills. The fact that he could retire at the age of 42 demonstrates that he was very good at making money and knew how to make good use of his talents. However, Franklin's real attention was given to the purification of his virtue. He worked hard to arrive at "moral perfection". On June 11, 1760, he told Mary Stevenson (1739-1795): "The Knowledge of Nature may be ornamental, and it may be useful, but if to attain an Eminence in that, we neglect the Knowledge and Practice of essential Duties, we deserve Reprehension."
Dr. Dave Wang has done some research on Franklin’s efforts to improve her virtue through following Confucius’s moral teachings. One question came to my mind is: did Franklin’s friends know about his efforts to live such a moral life?
I don’t have to give you numerous examples on how Franklin followed Confucius moral teachings to pursue a more virtuous life. That knowledge you can glean from Dr. Wang’s essay, Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral philosophy, or even his paper, Benjamin Franklin and China. Judging by the correspondences between Franklin and his friends, it is fair to say that Franklin’s use of Confucian ideals to enhance his morality was well-known among his friends.
For example, on February 26, 1766 Ezra Stiles (1727-1795)told Franklin:
“I have somtimes wished, after you had digested such of your Letters and other Writings as you would desire to accompany your Name through all American Ages, that I might be charged with the publication of them, prefixing them with the history of your Life. But this is an honor, to which among your numerous friends I can have no pretension. Confucius and his Posterity have been honored in China for Twenty Ages—the Electrical Philosopher, the American Inventor of the pointed Rods will live for Ages to come to live with him would please no one more than, my Dear Maecenas Your affectionate Friend and obedient Servant.”
Sunday, July 3, 2011
On the basis of assimilating Chinese heating technology, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)who was always "interested in the problem of heating and ventilation," invented a fire place, which was called the Pennsylvania Fire Place. Soon, the fire place was spread from Pennsylvania to Northeast colonies, including New York and Massachusetts. Alexander Hamilton (1755/57-1804)was very happy to find Franklin's invention.
Hamilton testified that Franklin's new stove chimneys were much improved in New York. He also reserved one for Cadwallader Colden (1688-1776). In 1744, The American Magazine and Historical Chronicle introduced the new invented Pennsylvania Fire Place. In Boston, where Franklin was born, Benjamin Mecom (1748-1765) also obtained one for his printing office. For more information, please read Michael Kraus, Intercolonial Aspects of American Culture on the Eve of the Revolution, with Special Reference to the Northern Towns , New York, Octogaon Books, Inc, 1964.
The late Professor Alfred Owen Aldridgeidentified that Benjamin Franklin's Art of Virtue was copied from Confucius. Thanks to the Google, his book The Dragon and the Eagle: The Presence of China in the American Enlightenment is available online. Because of the publication of Dr. Dave Wang's essay, Benjamin Franklin and China, it has become known that Franklin received positive influences from Chinese civilization.
However, I personally think that the word “copy” is a little bit too strong. Franklin indeed published word by word in his widely circulated Pennsylvania Gazette --The New York Times of the 18th Century--some chapters of Confucius Moral philosophy adopted from the book, Morals of Confucius, published in 1691 in London and republished in 1708 and 1714 respectively. However, Franklin didn't take all of the teachings as a whole from Confucius, but instead took what he considered would benefit the colonists in North America. In this sense, I agree with Dr. Wang's opinion that Franklin drew nourishments from the positive elements of Chinese civilization.
Friday, June 24, 2011
To study United State trade with China around the founding era of the country, Philadelphia is the place should be examined very carefully. It was one of the centers of the trade. Actually, the Empress of China, the first United States commercial ship that reached Chinese shore in August 1784 would start from Philadelphia if the Delaware River wasn’t frozen in the spring. Robert Morris (1734-1806), the main financial sponsor, was a Philadelphian.
It was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), also a Philadelphian, who reported the availability of Ginseng, the main cargo on the Empress of China, in the North American colonies. There is a book by Jonathan Goldstein, called "Philadelphia and the China Trade 1682–1846: commercial, cultural, and attitudinal effects". Finally, you want to read this article, "With China We Trade" to get a whole picture of the trade.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
This year marks the centenary of the 1911 Revolution China. This is the epoch-making event that changed the history of the world. The leader of the Revolution, Sun Zhongshan, also Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925)is called the "George Washington of China." Both Sun Yat-sen and Washington were anti-monarchical figures: each had the chance to enthrone himself as an emperor.
For Dr. Sun,it seemed natural to continue the political tradition of imperial rule; however, he overthrew the imperial system and changed the direction of Chinese political history. Because of him, China turned from an empire to a republic. Similarly, George Washington, together with other founding fouders of the United States, created a new country in North America that was different from the traditional monarchial systems in Europe.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Canton is the old name of Guangzhou, a city in southern China by the Pearl River. You may find out if you read this weblog carefully that I have a post introducing Cantons in the United States. Indeed, there are some Cantons in the United states. With this post I will introduce you Canton, Baltimore. It is located along Baltimore's outer harbor in the southeastern section of the city.
There is Canton Square, where stands the statue of Captain John O’Donnell, the founding father of Canton in Baltimore. Immediately return of the Empress of China with widely welcomed Chinese products, such as tea and porcellain ware. Captain O’Donnell started his commercial adventure by sending his own ship to Canton, China. With the profit earned from his trade with China, John purchased a large piece of waterfront land east of Fells Point. He named his land after Canton.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
In previous posts, I have told my readers the fact that New England can serve as a valuable historical museum for those who are interested in US-China relations in economic perspective in the early history of the United Sate. Even on Cape Cod you can find a living museum reflecting the splendid history of American traders' efforts to engage the trade with China.
There is a museum, called Captain Banges Hallet House. The historical house provides you an intimate glance into how Chinese products influenced 19th century family life. It is hardly imagine that it would take 16 to 18 months for American traders to bring back Chinese products to the American shore. This museum exhibits various Chinese products the captain bought in China from the 18th century, such as silk fabric, toys, porcelain, lacquered pieces and, of course, tea.
In order to give you a vivid picture of the captain's China trip, the house parlors "are arranged as if the captain was just returning from his voyage to China". In the meantime, you also can find a general description of the China trade in this area through reading this brief history of American trade with China.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
From this weblog, I guess that you have learned some knowlege on how important the Man Roots was for the founding fathers' efforts to establish direct economic relations with China during the founding era of the United States.
Over two hundred years have passed. The United States has grown from an agricultural country into the most developed country in the world. With so many high tech products envied by people from other countries, including the Chinese, Ginseng's role and its contribution to the United States in US-China trade are forgoten by Americans. However, history could repeat itself in certain times. Ginseng comes back again. The herb has become significant once again in the critical time when the United States is battling to recover from this economic recess. I have come across a paper, telling the true story from which you can find that Ginsing has become important again in American trade with China. You will find that at a time when the Chinese are getting rich exporting to Americans, some Americans become countertrender who get rich through exporting Ginseng to the Chinese. Please enjoy this fabulous story with this link.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
The economic relationship between China and the United States has had a long history. How long has it been? The relationship started as soon as the United States was established.
With this post I will introduce you the impact of China trade on Connecticut.
Middletown,located in Middlesex County, Connecticut, along the Connecticut River became a center of the China trade in Connecticut. In 1787, two years after the Empress of China reached Canton, China. The news that China’s love of American Ginseng spread to the Connecticut River Valley. Jeremiah Wadsworth contracted with William Moore of Greenfield, Massachusetts for 800 pounds of Ginseng. Numerous business persons and residents engaged trade with China during the early period of the United States.
In an exhibit not long ago, over 120 China trade goods originally owned by Connecticut River Valley residents were displayed. You can obtain more information concerning the entrepreneurs’ enthusiastic pursuit of the trade with China from this paper, Canton and Connecticut. I also find an excellent paper, discussing, The Connecticut Rive Valley and the China Trade. You also don't want to miss this introductory paper, The Connecticut River Valley and the China Trade by Amanda Lange.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Before Bill Gates (born 1955 , Donald Trump (born in 1946), the Rockefellers , Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) and Henry Ford (1863-1947)there was a gentleman, John Jacob Astor (1763-1848). Astor was the first American millionaire. I write this essay because he made himself the first millionaire based on the profits he earned from the China Trade initiated by the founders of the United States.
John came into the United States in 1784, the year when the founders of this country sent the first American trade ship, the Empress of China to Canton, China. Sixteen years later, the history saw Astor sent his first ship to China. He loaded his ship with 30,573 sealskins, and other animal skins, and North American ginseng. From 1800 on, Astor expanded his trade with China greatly. Three years later, he focused his attention on the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest. He established the American Fur Company. His fleet of ships would collect the furs and sell them in China. By 1820, he became a leader of American trade with China.
How much money he made from the China trade, we don't know. However, we know that he owned one-fifteenth of all personal wealth of the entire United States. Between 1803 and 1806, he invested $300,000 of his profits from China in Manhattan real estate. The land he bought would "pour millions into the coffers his descendants." In addition, he also exerted great influence on the relations between China and the United States. President Thomas Jefferson even gave green lights for Astor to send the latter’s commercial ship to China in a time when no ships were allowed to leave the American coast.
Friday, May 20, 2011
As a reader of Dr. Dave Wang's papers in the field of US founders and China I have found the very interesting historical fact between the United States and China.
The first five presidents of the United States from George Washington (1789-1797) to John Adams (1797-1801), Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), James Madison (1809-1817) and James Monroe (1817-1825) were all interested in building relations with China.
From Dr. Wang's paper,"With China We Trade," we have learned that George Washington strongly supported the fledgling United States to establish direct economic relationship with China. Dr. Wang's paper, "All Posterity Would Remember My Legacy: Thomas Jefferson and a Legendary Chinese Prince" tells its readers that Thomas Jefferson, who enormously concerned about his reputation and honor, regarded the well-loved and respected Chinese Prince WEI, featured in the Great Learning, one of the cantons of Confucianism as an exemplary role model for other leaders.
James Madison, the father of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, hung a portrait of Confucius at his home. He also owned a copy of the Great Learning, one of the four classics of Confucianism.
James Monroe became the first president that started the direct communication between a president of the United States and a Chinese emperor. In 1822 he wrote a letter to Chinese emperor. Interestingly enough, Monroe’s 179 year old letter was bought by an absentee bidder at a New York Auction in 2001. The bidder paid about $20,000. It will be great if the bidder can release the content of the letter to researchers, students and general readers. This letter will no doubt deepen our knowledge on the founders who were interested in building relations with China.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Marco Polo (1254-1324)was not the only European who lived and worked in China. However, he was the first one that published a book based on his personal experiences. His book, The Description of the World or the Travels of Marco Polo, presented a detailed narrative about China. Marco Polo was very impressed by China’s prosperity.
In Polo’s eyes, Chinese Emperor concerned his people’s well-being. Hangzhou (Kinsai) was “without doubt the finest and most splendid city in the world.” Polo found that coal had been used in China. In history, coal wasn’t used in his hometown at the time. Interestingly enough, he showed his admiration for Buddhists. He marveled at the ‘huge monasteries and abbeys.” One has to be careful when reading Polo’s book. In addition to be a traveler, a merchant, Polo was the servant of the Mongol government. Therefore, one should read his description on the relationship between the ruler and the ruled critically.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
In the posting, "American Power after bin Laden," at CNN on May 6, 2011 you will find the following statement from Dr. Joseph S. Nye , "The Founding Fathers worried about comparisons to the decline of the Roman republic." I think that Professor Nye stretched a little bit too much in order to find foundation for supporting his cultural pessimism. Actually, the founders were very confident when they made the new nation. Do you believe that the founders wanted to build a nation where they were unsure of its stability?
On September 1787 at the signing of the United States Constitution, looking towards George Washington’s chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, Benjamin Franklin made the following speech, “I have often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.” Journal of the Constitutional Convention (17 September 1787) Franklin's above statement demonstrates that the founding fathers' confidence for the future of the United States.
The task the founders faced was not easy. The British Empire used all its ingenuity to nip at the fledgling republic. However, the economic disorder created by the British blockades didn’t stop the founders’ determination to build the new nation into a beacon for the rest of the world. The founders decided to open trade with China as soon as the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. President Ronald Reagan expressed his apreciation on April 27, 1984, for China's help to bring US to world commerce. He told his audience, "Back in 1784, when the first American trading ship, the Empress of China, entered your waters, my country was unknown to you. We were a new republic, eager to win a place in international commerce." (Ronald Reagan, Remarks to Chinese Community Leaders in Beijing, China, April 27, 1984). Reagan demonstrated that he was great president by showing his appreciation to the friend who helped the US in its most difficult time. The trade with China helped the United States overcome the economic difficult during its formative age.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
In USA Today, January 19, 2011, Lewis M. Simons, published his article, U.S.-China relations: a newfound maturity. According to him, the United States and China will be "likely to pay mutual respect to each others' countries while acknowledging a reality at times irritating to both: that the United States and China — even though they are destined to bicker and disagree — are joined at the hip."
I totally agree with him upon this point. What I want to add humbly to his strong argument is that we need to find the origin of the hip of the relations between the two nations, that will decide what kind of world we and coming generations are going to live in this and coming centuries.
If you read this blog and Dr. Dave Wang's publications on United States founders and China, you won't have any difficulties to understand the meaning and the intention when the founders worked hard to borrow positive elements from China and worked hard to establish direct relations with the Empire. The hip was made right there in North America during the formative age of the United States.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The Europeans started to reach out to China during the Mongol Empire, called Yuan Dynasty from 1271 to 1368 in China, John of Plano Carpini(ca 1182-1252) was sent to convert the Mongols to Christianity by the Pope in 1245. He returned to Europe in 1247. He talked something about China. However, he did not reach China. What he described about China was based on what he heard. He told that China “very rich in corn, in wine, gold, silver, silk and in every kind of produce that tends to the support of mankind.” (Henry Yule and Henri Cordier, Cathy and the Way Thither, Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, pp.157-8.)
William of Rubruquis (c 1220-c1293), also did not step on the soil of China. However he met some Chinese at Karakorum, the Capital of the Mongol Empire. He told his personal impression on the Chinese: “They are first-rate artists in every kind of craft, and their physicians have a thorough knowledge of the virtues of herbs, and an admirable skill in diagnosis by the pulse.” (Ibid. pp.159.)
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I have found an online essay discussing Chinese cultural influence on modern American culture. The author identified Chinese influence in some areas, such as cuisine, remedies, spirituality, aesthetics and language. According to the author, Chinese immigrants have brought “unique food tradition” to the United States since 1820.
Traditional Chinese medicine is getting more popular in the United States. As a result, nowadays, many insurance plans cover acupuncture. More modern American designers and architects have embraced feng shui--a popular system of Chinese aesthetics on improving your living and working environment. More is available from this link.
Monday, April 18, 2011
It seems too far jumping from Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), the great founder of this great nation, to President Obama, elected in 2008. However, the tradition started by Franklin has been well preserved and continuted by our president who has a great vision as great as the founder's.
I have been impressed by the news that First Lady Michelle Obama promoted recently at Howard University President Barack Obama's One-Hundred-Thousand Strong initiative, a national effort to increase dramatically the number and diversify the composition of American students studying in China.
We know that Franklin at his senior age once told one of his friends that he would go to China if he were young. Clearly, Franklin would be extremely happy if he had known that thousands of young Americans will study in China.
"That’s why it is so important for more of our young people to live and study in each other’s countries," Mrs. Obama said. "That’s how, student by student, we develop that habit of cooperation, by immersing yourself in someone else’s culture, by sharing your stories and letting them share theirs, by taking the time to get past the stereotypes and misperceptions that too often divide us. More available from this link.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
What did West know about China before Marco Polo?
China was called Serica by the ancient Romans. Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) mentioned the silk production. It is believed that Theophylactus Simocatta was the first author on China. China was described as a "large, powerful, and rich country with a thriving commerce."
The emperor's (Tang Emperor Taizong, reigned 626-649)women "go forth in chariots made of gold, with one ox to draw them, while the women of the chief nobles use silver chariots." (Henry Yule and Henri Cordier, Cathay and the Way Thither, Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, London, 1913-16)Generally speaking, the idea, China as a rich country, dominated Western images of China for many centuries.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
The late Professor Derk Bodde designed a teaching workbook for the Committee on Asian Studies in American Education. He outlined the Chinese cultural influence on the Western ideas. In July 1948, Professor Howard E. Wilson, Chairman, Committee on Asiatic Studies in American Education recommended the teaching workbook in the following,
It is more important today than ever before that men of all cultures understand themselves, understand other cultures, and understand the interchange and expansion of ideas which have created a common denominator of all civilization. Unless that understanding can be gained and used as a basis for wise action, the nations of the modern world may destroy themselves and civilization as we know it." Then he suggested everyone to benefit from “the gifted pen of Derk Bodde.”
Professor Wilson stated that Professor Bodde's opinion is addressed "to all who are interested in where our ideas came from and in the contributions of China to our civilization. The article will be useful for classes in literature, in science, in history, and in civics, and for the general reader." Please learn from Professor Bodde's Chinese Ideas in the West.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The author of the site, Chinese Influence on American Culture stated, "Chinese culture has influenced modern American culture." With this site the author shows the impact of Chinese cuisine, Chinese herbal medicine, Buddism and Feng Shui on American life.
In a public park in any major metropolis one can see Americans of all colors practicing tai chi, the ancient Chinese exercise. The popularity of acupuncture is another indicator showing that Chinese culture is gaining momentum at the United States.
Friday, March 25, 2011
I have found a site discussing Chinese influence on western medicine. You might interest in it. In the following I introduce you the site. According to the site, the Western medicine took over some drugs from China, including rhubarb (If you read Dr. Dave Wang’ paper, Benjamin Franklin and China, you will know that Benjamin Franklin promoted to transplant it to North America), iron (for anemia), castor oil, kaolin, aconite, camphor, and Cannabis sativa (Indian hemp).
The Chinese used Chaulmoogra oil for leprosy from at least the 14th century. The herb mahuang (Ephedra vulgaris) has been used in China for at least 4,000 years, and the isolation of the alkaloid ephedrine from it has greatly improved the Western treatment of asthma and similar conditions. However, the most famous and expensive of Chinese remedies is ginseng.
Western analysis has shown that it has diuretic and other properties but is of doubtful value. In recent years RESERPINE, the active principle of the Chinese plant Rauwolfia, has been isolated; it is now effectively used in the treatment of high blood pressure and some emotional and mental conditions. More information concerning Chinese Influence on Western medicine is available from this link.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Recently, Fareed Zakaria, the well-known writer of politics, told his readers that he decided to be an American, not by accident of birth but by choice. He wanted to be an American because he believed that the United States was "exceptional." There's no doubt that the United States is an exceptional nation in the world. However, I have to make it clear that I have no inclination to strengthen the theory of American exceptionalism.
My understanding is that the United States was grown out of European cultural tradition; it is hard to cut the cultural tie. However, it is culturally incorrect to say that the United States is a simple extension of Europe, or another European country. Dr. Dave Wang's efforts to examine Chinese cultural influence on the colonial and republic era of the United States might help us understand what has made the United States exceptional. The founding fathers' wisdom, vision and efforts to draw nourishments from foreign cultures, including Chinese culture, and determination to build a new nation are among the elements that contributed to the exceptional character of the United States.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Benjamin Franklin understood well that not everything in one place can be accepted by other people. He gave several examples, such as Chinese music in North America, Japanese food and Arabic perfumes in some countries. However, is there anything that universally accepted in the world? Yes. Franklin regarded Confucius moral philosophy is the universal principle, which should be practiced anywhere in ther world.
In April 1749, when he re-edited his well-known Poor Richard's Almonac, Franklin pointed out, "But the benevolent mind of a virtuous man (Confucius--this author), is pleas'd, when it is inform'd of good and generous actions, in what part of the world soever they are done."
Amazed by Confucius, Franklin designed a plan for an international party of virtue. He also planned to write a book on the art of virture, which would be "a kind of manifesto for an international movement" (in Edmund Morgan's words). In July 1749 Franklin told George Whitefield that "Confucius, the famous eastern reformer, proceeded. When he saw his country sunk in vice, and wickedness of all kinds triumphant, he applied himself first to the grandees; and having by his doctrine won them to the cause of virtue, the commons followed in multitudes." (Franklin's Letter is available from this link)
Monday, March 7, 2011
According to Clayton Dube, associate director of the US-China Institute at the University of Southern California, China's influence on the United States is rising. He reasoned that China had made efforts in recent years to improve its image abroad, and those efforts had been productive. He said, "The Chinese economy is thriving. Its influence is enormous. (That) China's economy was the second in the world attracted a lot of headlines in 2010."
I want you to remember that China was number one of the world in terms of economy during the founding fathers era. You can read more of his comments on China's influence on the United States from this link.
Monday, February 21, 2011
February 22 is George Washington's birthday. From reading Dr. Wang's Paper, George Washington and Chinese flowers I have learned that Washington worked to build a Chinese garden in Mount Vernon, his bucolic estate in Northern Virginia. After reading his paper, I feel that we should reconstruct Washington's Chinese Garden in order to realize Washington's dream to let Chinese flowers beautify the lands of the United States of America.
From his diary we know that on July 8, 1785 Washington chose a good place next to the garden wall in his “well cultivated and neatly kept” botanical garden and sowed “one half the Chinese Seed given by Mr. Porter and Doctor. James Craik. Washington, for the purpose of making sure the Chinese flowers blossom, took very detailed notes, including the procedure how he planted the seeds of the flowers. For more information concerning how Washington planted the flowers, please reader Dr. Dave Wang's Paper, George Washington and Chinese Flowers
Saturday, February 19, 2011
We know that the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary published Dr. Wang’s paper Benjamin Franklin and China, in 2005. I have monitored the impact of this paper since then because I thought that his paper would be forgotten or ignored quickly in the era of the information explosion. To my surprise, I have in this windy and interesting February of 2011 found that Benjamin Franklin and China gets momentum. Over 20 well-known websides have joined the Tercentenary to promote his paper, Benjamin Franklin and China. In the following I introduce you the sites. We have reason to believe that the influence of Benjamin Franklin and China will continue.
01. The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary
02. New York Times, January 29, 2009
03. Doxtop: Get Published
07. Look PDF
08. DailyBust: Your PDF Search
09. Mild PDF: Browse and download for Free
10. Source Ebook PDF Free Read and Search here…
13. PDF Searching Engine
14. Leer Online Benjamin Franklin and China
15. PDE Ebooks downloads
17. PDF Cari
18. Rapid PDF The Place where PDFs live
19. PDF Dowload Free
20. PDF Engine
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Around the founding period of the United States there was a fever for Confucius, as shown by a collective fondness of Confucius ideals by the founding fathers. In reality, five founding fathers expressed their reverence of Confucius. This phenomenon led one scholar to make the claim that Confucius “dominated early American perspectives Chinese worship."
The word “dominated” might be too strong in describing the milieu; however, an undeniable fact is that the founding fathers emphasized Confucius and his philosophy in various publications, which were published throughout colonial North America. The founding fathers, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Rush and James Madison expressed their high regard of Confucius and his moral philosophy.
Why Confucius became so attractive? You can find more from reading Dr. Dave Wang's paper from this link.
Friday, January 28, 2011
The Well-known Huaren Magazine, based in Australia, published in its September 2010 Issue, Dr. Dave Wang's Paper, "From Confucius to the Great Wall of China: Chinese Cultural Influence on Colonial North America." In the following please enjoy a paragraph of his paper:
The Americans wanted to diminish their reliance on taxed imports and ultimately their need for other goods controlled by England. Their pursuing self supply of Chinese porcelain ware became a powerful call for the patriotic support of American economical independence. Some colonists started attempts to establish a porcelain manufactory company in Philadelphia in 1769.
They established the factory on Prime Street “near the present day navy yard, intended to make china at a savings of 15,000 £. “ Benjamin Franklin, who was in London at the time, showed his happiness seeing the achievement made by his countrymen. He said, “I am pleased to find so good progress made in the China Manufactory. I wish it Success most heartily.”
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Ms. Amy Chua, her book titled, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” was opposed by David Brooks, whose article titled, “Amy Chua is a Wimp.” With this post by no means do I intend to disglory either the Tiger Mother or her opposer, David Brooks. In terms of educating younger generation, I like neither Ms. Chua nor Mr. David Brooks. I go for Benjamin Franklin's educational thinking. As co-president of the Chinese American Parents Association of Hunter College High School, arguably one of the top high schools in the world, I have something to say regarding this topic: I think that I can not fabricate anything better than Franklin's educational principle.
Franklin viewed virtue as a path to personal happiness and social utility. For Franklin, to be a virtuous person was so important that it decided what kind of life one wanted to live. In 1780, he told his grandson that there were only two kinds of people in the world: the people with virtue and the people without. He said that the people with virtue “are well dress’d and live comfortably in good houses,” and the people without virtue “are poor and dirty” He emphasized, “nothing so likely to make a man’s fortune as virtue.”
The message Franklin wanted to convey to his grandson was that his grandpa had good virtue and therefore could be rich and accumulated fortune, which allowed him to retire at the age of 42. By combining virtue with one’s future, Franklin told his grandson that if he wanted to “not live in miserable cabins” in his later life he need to start to cultivate his virtue at a young age. Franklin not only told his grandson to train his “good morals” himself but asked him to “recommend” the good morals to his friends when his grandson returned to the United States after his study in Swissland.
We can tell from the above that Franklin maintained that happiness and social utility should be goal of education. To reach this goal, one must cultivate one's virtue. Compared with Franklin's principle, we will find what's wrong with either Chua or Brooks. Chua could raise young people as successful individuals; however, they would have difficulties serving community. On the other side, Brooks could produce someone who wants to serve community but doesn't possess necessary knowledge on how to do so. No doubt, we should go back to Franklin's principle.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
January 2011 is very unique. It has five Mondays, five Saturdays and five Sundays. It is impossible for current people to meet a January like this one again because it will take 9841 years to have the same January.
It is the perfect time for my giving the answer to this question. Since the first day I read Dr. Dave Wang's blog, The U.S. Founding Fathers and China I have asked myself the question: How many founding fathers heard of China during the founding era of the United States? I read all his publications and found that only about handful of them.
To be honest, I almost fell out of chair when I heard Dr. Dave Wang's answer to the question. “Over a dozen.” “Wait a minute. Say it again. Over a dozen of United States founding fathers made their efforts to borrow positive elements from China. Could you tell me who they are?” I was totally blown off in this particular January.
According to Dr. Dave Wang's research we have found that the founding fathers demonstrated their efforts to use Chinese civilization as a resource to build the colonies into a new nation in North America. They are John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Rufs King, Richard Henry Lee, James Madison, James Monroe, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Rush and George Washington. I hope that Dr. Dave Wang can further enlighten us about what positive elements they used from Chinese culture to develop the United States.