Monday, July 23, 2012

271. What Can Laws Do Without Morals?

A very important principle of Confucian moral philosophy is to educate the leaders to rule according to the belief--governing according to morality and promotion according to talents. In 1778, two years after the colonists declared their independence; Benjamin Franklin addressed the significance of the morality’s role.

Franklin pointed out the necessity of introducing the notion of governing with morals, especially for the leaders of the United States. He told his fellow Americans, laws were not enough for the new nation; "What the political struggle I have been engag’d in for the good of my compatriots, inhabitants of this bush; or my philosophical studies for the benefits of our race in general! For in politics, what can laws do without morals? Our present race of ephemeras will in a course of minutes become corrupt like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched."

Friday, July 20, 2012

270. American Ginseng and Americanization

Much has been written about the Ginseng’s contributions to the American effort to open the trade with China, but its impact on the social development has been neglected. It should be noted that American Ginseng had helped change American society in the early period of the United States. For example, the Westward expansion was promoted by the pioneers who looked for exploitable natural resources and new commercial opportunities.

Driven by the need of gathering enough Ginseng worthy for the journey of long distance to China, Ginseng diggers and traders were soon found in the Appalachian Mountains and other areas where Ginseng was readily available. After gathering them together, the merchants would transport the herbs from the interiors of Pennsylvania and Virginia to Philadelphia, New York, or Boston. “

This proved to be an important educational influence, since it was almost the only way in which the pioneer learned what was going on in the East.” As a result, the huge masses of Ginseng diggers, traders, and transporters changed the society. “Mobility of population is death to localism, and the western frontier worked irresistibly in unsettling population. The effect reached back from the frontier and affected profoundly the Atlantic coast and even the Old World.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

269. George Washington and Chinese Porcelain

George Washington used Chinese porcelain as precious gifts to his friends and guests. In 1797 he gave Mrs. Samuel Power, a Chinese porcelain cooler, liner, and cover, underglaze-blue river scene with gilt handles and rims. On June 9, 1798, Mrs. Washington made Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, a Polish journalist then visiting Mount Vernon, a gift of Chinese porcelain cup with her name and the name of the United States.

As Washington’s reputation in then North America during the formative age of the United States, his appreciation for Chinese porcelain ware produced a great influence on other people since a stream of visitors to the headquarters had been served with the ware at the Commander in Chief's table. George Washington once called his home as a well-resorted tavern” and existing records confirm his statement.

According to household documents, Washington dined with his wife alone only twice in the last 20 years of his marriage. Ordinary American citizens and friends “flocked to see the President, and with customary grace, he welcomed them to home, not only for meals but to spend the night.” More about Washington and Chinese Porcelain is available through reading this paper, The Founding Fathers of the United States and Chinese Porcelain Ware

Saturday, July 7, 2012

268. The American Founders and Chinese Food

Among the American founders, Benjamin Franklin told us his personal experience with Chinese food. In a letter, dated January 11, 1770, to John Batram, a friend in Philadelphia, the founing father introduced Tau-Fu, one of the popular Chinese foods throughout the history of China. Franklin told Batram, "Father Navarrete's account of the universal use of a cheese made of them in China, which so excited my curiosity, that I caused enquiry to be made of Mr. [James] Flint, who lived many years there, in what manner the cheese was made, and I send you his answer. I have since learned that some runnings of salt (I suppose runnet) is put into water, when the meal is in it, to turn it to curds. [...] These ... are what the Tau-fu is made of." As for more information concerning Franklin's love of Chinese food, please read "Franklin’s Favorite Foods" by Dr. Page Talbott, Associate Director, and Chief Curator, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

267. The American Founders and Chinese Civilization

I have found that History Education Hawaii, Inc., an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit corporation serving the history learning community of the state of Hawaii, promotes to study Dr. Dave Wang's research on the US founders and China.

It is well-known that HEH promotes study, research, effective learning practices and innovative history teaching techniques, partnering with educational institutions, facilitates professional programs for history-buffs, educators, teacher-candidates, historians, historic preservationists, foundations, museums and the government, military and business communities. History Education Hawaii is allied with the National Council for History Education.( Joining our mailing list by contacting us at