Saturday, September 22, 2012
282. China and the American Revolution
Certain Chinese products, such as tea, had become deeply involved in the colonies and became an indispensable element of colonists’ daily life. The British control of tea and the colonists’ struggle against this control changed the historical course of the colonies. The tax on tea and the resentment with the tea monopoly by the East Indian Company was one of the factors that led the colonists to rebel. Immediately before the successful 1784 sailing of the Empress of China, the first American commercial ship to reach China, the President of Yale College told George Washington: Navigation will carry the America flag around the globe itself, and display the thirteen stripes and new constellation, at Bengal and Canton, on the Indus and Ganges, on the Whang-ho and the Yang-ti-king; and with commerce will import the wisdom and literature of the East.
However, the Americans had difficulty in finding goods that would sell in the Chinese market. Interestingly enough, the plant Ginseng, was found to grow in North American mountains, and helped the fledgling United States to trade with China and enter the international commerce. Chinese porcelain greatly enriched American life. In order to establish the silk industry in North America, Benjamin Franklin made great efforts to introduce Chinese silk technology, revealing the founding fathers’ drive to use Chinese civilization to facilitate the development of the colonies.