Saturday, January 28, 2012
249. John Adams and Confucius
Some US founding fathers drew on the wisdom of Confucius, who yearned to see people, especially political leaders, adopt better morals and more compassion. For him, virtue was not only the basis and foundation of an empire, but also the source from whence flowed whatever might render it flourishing. During the formative age of the United States, American founder John Adams (1735-1826) laboured to make a plan for the new government. He realized the importance of virtue in a good government.
I have been surprised by his plan; especially, his following statement, which has definitely opened my eyes. I believe that you will open your eyes to the fullest scale when you read it. After thorough thinking, Adams came to the following conclusion, "All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue. Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, Mahomet, not to mention authorities really sacred, have agreed in this".
The above statement conveys two important mesages, including the significance of virtue for a good government and the influence of Confucius's moral philosophy on John Adams. Clearly, Confucius has occupied the most outstanding place in John Adams mind in terms of good virtue that a good American government must possess.