Sunday, August 12, 2012

274. US Founders Found Resources in China

The founding fathers regarded China as a place where they could find important resources to promoting agricultural and industrial development in North America. They made their exertion to transplant valuable plants from China to North America. Benjamin Franklin obtained rhubarb seeds and sent them to John Bartram in 1772. George Washington made his own experiments to plant Chinese flowers in his garden on Mountain Vernon. Thomas Jefferson made long time commitment to transplant the dry rice to southern United States. Samuel Bowen introduced soybeans from China into Savannah, Georgia in 1765.

Franklin also sent soybean seeds from London to John Bartram in Philadelphia in 1770. Franklin expressed his great interest in Chinese industrial technologies, such as heating house in the winter, ship building, paper making, candle and mill and other technologies. Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816) was influenced by the literature on the Grand Canal of China. The Chinese canal construction technologies had an impact on the New Yorkers, who wanted to build the Erie Canal, which could help in making New York one of the great cities in the United States.

Jefferson borrowed elements from Chinese architecture in his effort to create a new style of building. Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush also promoted the sericulture in North America. (Dave Wang, Benjamin Franklin’s Efforts to Promote Sericulture in North America, in Benjamin Franklin Gazette, Vol. 18, no. 2, Summer 2008. Benjamin Rush told his fellow colonists “Mulberry trees are so plenty among us that we might raise silkworms in a few years to supply us with all the silk we want, as oak leaves (when those of the mulberry are not to be had) have been found in China to afford a food to the worms.” )

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