Saturday, October 22, 2011
239 Thomas Jefferson and Confucius
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."