Thursday, August 16, 2012

275. American Civilization and Chinese Civilization

It is well-known that "for much of their history, Americans defined their society in opposition to Europe." American civilization, it was argued, was a distinct civilization.” George Washington had believed that “the new nation would develop a unique American character.” Thomas Jefferson alleged that American civilization “was the part of a form of civilization higher than the polished societies of Europe. “US cultures have evolved and absorbed elements from other cultures in the historic process of the formation of American civilization.

American civilization drew positive elements from other major civilizations of the world, including Chinese civilization. In contemporary society, American political leaders have also clearly realized the influence of Chinese civilization on the development of American civilization. Bill Clinton pointed out that China as “a stronghold of creativity, knowledge and wealth” had an impact on American life long before the United States was even born. He told Americans that “From the printing China invented to the poetry it produced, from medicine and mathematics to the magnetic compass and humanistic philosophies, many of China’s earliest gifts still enrich our lives today.”

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