Saturday, October 19, 2013

324. Benjamin Franklin: Yu Yunwen in North America

In 1161, Yu Yunwen 虞允文 (1110-1174), a civilian official of Southern Song Dynasty China (1127-1279), was ordered to defend the southern China and prevent the Jin (Jurchen)’s military forces from across the Yangtze River. With a small force of 18,000 soldiers Yu successfully defeated the Jin (Jurchen)’s huge military forces composed of 170,000 men. Since the victory, Yu became a well-known civilian official who took the commanding position in a critical time and defeated the enemy’s powerful forces and successfully protected the country in Chinese history.

Interestingly enough, it seems that history repeated itself in North America in 1756. Similar to Yu Yunwen, Benjamin Franklin, a civilian official, was appointed to be in charge of defending the colonies in the French Indian War. In 1754, the French and Indian War started in the Ohio River Valley. In the later part of 1755, Pennsylvania was threatened by the French Indians. Facing the threat, the leaders of Pennsylvania were reckoning different opinions on how to protect the colonies. In the arguments, the two approaches gained conspicuous attention. Some leaders considered the best way to keep the colonies safe was to bring the fight into the French Indian’s territory. The others maintained that the frontier could be safeguarded by a “Chain of forts.”

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