Saturday, March 24, 2012

255. China in the Era of the Founding of the United States

One question in this blog readers' mind might be why the founders of this nation wanted to learn from China. I just came across an excellent article. I think that the following quote from Why China is China: A Historical Perspective-in Forbes by Dr. Doug Guthrie will answer this question. According to him,  "

In For more than 2000 years, China was the center of the world it knew. It was the “Middle Kingdom” of a tributary system in which “lesser” nations paid homage to the “Celestial Empire.” So remarkable was its stature that during the 18th and early 19th centuries, China controlled one-third of the world’s economy. Several of its metropolitan areas had populations on the order of 1 million residents. (The most populous city in Europe at the time was Paris, which had 100,000 residents.) And China was a technological marvel that had an impressive list of firsts, including the discovery of gunpowder and the production of printed books."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

254. Obama and Mencius' Wisdom

Both the founders of this nation and more contemporary leaders have sought assistance from Chinese wisdom; indeed, it has become an important tradition of the United States. With the aid of Chinese insight, the United States has overcome numerous obstacles. Ironically however, American leaders today struggle to improve their relationship with China, one of the world’s most important bilateral relations.

Not surprisingly, to undertake this issue, American leaders utilize Chinese wisdom again. At the opening meeting of the first China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July27, 2009, President Barrack Obama quoted the ancient philosopher Mencius to win Chinese cooperation building long-term relations with China. “ Thousands of years ago, the great philosopher Mencius said: "A trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time." In the following please find Mencius original words:

孟子谓高子曰:‘山径之蹊间,介然用之而成路;为间不用,则茅塞之矣。今茅塞子之心矣。’” 孟子·尽心下》                                                                                                                 

253. The Influence of Trade with China during the Early Period

Encouraged by the success of the China Trade, George Washington expressed his feeling thus: "the Maritime Genius of this Country is now steering our vessels in every ocean ..." In September 1796, he told the American people that the US "will more and more find a valuable vent for the commodities of which it brings from abroad" - namely through trade with China. In the same year, he invited Thomas Handasyd Perkins, the pioneer of China trade in Boston, to Mount Vernon to drink tea and to spend the night there.

The China trade helped change America's political map. It helped the US to move its political center from Virginia to New York City and New England. Hamilton decided to build the national bank in New York. The political center of the United States would be in New York, the commercial and financial center of the new nation.

The significance of the China trade in the early development of the US was crucial to Washington's thinking about American foreign policy. On September 1796, Washington in his Farewell Address told his fellow American citizens that "the great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations".

Saturday, March 10, 2012

252. Thomas Jefferson's Dream: A Shor Cut to China

It was Thomas Jefferson’s dream to open up a shortest trade route between China and the United States. He had tried three times before the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  On April 30 1793, ten years after the independence was recognized in the Treaty of Paris and at the beginning of the second term of the Washington administration, Jefferson wrote the instructions for Michaux.  Jefferson told him that the first purpose was to “find the shortest & most convenient route of communication between the U.S. & the Pacific ocean, within the temperate latitudes.”