Saturday, April 28, 2012

259. Ginseing and the Founding Fathers

American Ginseng, nicknamed Flower Flag Ginseng, was the most important commercial good in the trade between Chinaand the United Statesduring the late 1700s leading into the early 1800s. American Ginseng’s role in promoting the trade between China and the United States is evident by how the amount of Ginseng shipped to China increased proportionally during the first five administrations of the United States.

During the Washingtonadministration of 1789-1797, the United States exported 374,792 lb. of Ginseng to China. However, during John Adam’sshort administration, 1797-1801, the United States exported 337,192 lb., close to that of the Washington administration. During the Thomas Jefferson Administration of 1801-1809, the American merchants sent 1,617,594 lb. to China.  Compared with that of Washington’s administration, the export of Ginseng increased 4.3 times.  In theJames Madison administration, 1809-1817, the US exported 1,000,660 lb. to China. During the last presidency of the founding father generation, the James Monroeadministration (1817-1825), the amount of American Ginseng exported to China reached 2,868,062 lb.  

258. Benjamin Franklin Can't Be Blamed

Readers of this blog know that it was Benjamin Franklin who introduced tallow tree from China to  North America in the 1700s. At that time Franklin was in London, where he sent tallow tree seeds to Georgia. Loving the great economic value, Franklin hoped the tree would be flourishing in the colonies.
Today tallow trees are classified as an invasive species. The trees are spreading so fast that they are destroying native habitates. I have been worried about it, for Franklin might be blamed for the situation.

Thanks to the research done by Even Siemann, Professor and chair of ecology and evolutionary biology at Rice Unversity, we have known that the tallow trees that are running amok in most of the United States aren't from the batch that Franklin imported. The descendants of Franklin's trees are confined to a few thousand square miles of coastal plain in northern Georgia and soucthern South Carolina. All other U.S. tallow trees are descendants from seeds brought to the United States around 1905.  More information is available from the report by Huston Chronicle Garden Editor Kathy Huber, Did Ben Franklin Bring Invasive Tallow Tree to Texas?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

257. China as One of the World's Major Civilizations

In his article "The Future of U.S.-Chinese Relations," in Foreign Affairs, March/April 2012, Dr. Henry Kissinger pointed out, "China can find reasuarance in its own record of endurance and in the fact that no U. S. administration has ever sought to alter the  reality of China as one of the world's major states, economies, and civilizations." I can't say bettter than Dr. Kissenger, Chair of Kissinger Associates and a former U.S. Secretary of States and National Security Adviser. Yes, indeed, in the eyes of the great founding fathers of the United States, China provided valuable resources for their efforts to build a new nation in North America. From George Washington (1732-1799), the first president,  to James Manroe (1758-1731), the fifth president, all the first five administrations  of the United States promoted to develop the relationship between China and the United States. I feel that you will find it is eassier to understand Dr. Kissinger's above statement if you have read some posts from this weblog.

256. The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influences on the US

Walking from the east entrance up the steps to the SupremeCourt building, one can see a sculpture of Confucius along with Moses and Solon. The sculpture may serve as an indicator of the impact of Confucius in the formation of American culture. Indeed, Chinese cultural and technological influence on what would become the United States started even before this country was born.

Chinese culture became important when some of the US founders looked for resources that could be mobilized in their efforts to build a new nation after declaring independence from Great Britain. Chinese contributions to early America were varied. In their efforts to cultivate personal virtue and to educate the younger generations to be virtuous, several founding fathers sought guidance from Confucian philosophy. The founders also adopted Chinese inventions to facilitate the social and economic development of colonies and introduced elements of Chinese agriculture to North America.

 -------The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influences on the United States, in Education about Asia, Vol. 16, No. 2 Fall 2011.