Saturday, May 7, 2011

222. Did the Founders Believe U.S. Will Decline?

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.

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