Seventeen years after Benjamin Franklin stated that Confucius was his example, Dr. Ezra Stiles (1717-1795) assured Franklin that he would live for ages to come. In the following I provide you with the quote from his letter to Benjamin Franklin dated February 26, 1766:
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Seventeen years after Benjamin Franklin stated that Confucius was his example, Dr. Ezra Stiles (1717-1795) assured Franklin that he would live for ages to come. In the following I provide you with the quote from his letter to Benjamin Franklin dated February 26, 1766:
I have somtimes wished, after you had digested such of your Letters and other Writings as you would desire to accompany your Name through all american Ages, that I might be charged with the publication of them, prefixing them with the history of your Life. But this is an honor, to which among your numerous friends I can have no pretension. Confucius and his Posterity have been honored in China for Twenty Ages—the Electrical Philosopher, the American Inventor of the pointed Rods will live for Ages to come to live with him would please no one more than, my Dear Maecenas Your affectionate Friend and obedient Servant.
Ezra StilesDr. Franklin London
Sent by Mr. Robt. Stevens Junior who saild March 9. 1766. on Board the ship America Capt. Osborn from Newport Rh. Isl. for Bristol in England, and Arrived at Bristol Apr. 17.
Monday, December 15, 2014
The Confucius Institutes, non-profit organization that promotes Chinese language and culture, are all over the world today. People may wonder who started the first Confucius Institute in the world. No one is qualified to make the statement that he created the first Confucius institute but Benjamin Franklin, one of the great admirers of Confucius throughout the history.
Interestingly enough, Junto (君道) in Chinese means the “Way of a Gentleman” or the “Path Leading to a Virtuous Person.” This seems more accurately explain the purpose of the group.
hoped to use
his Junto as a means to cultivate more virtuous members for the society. For more
information, one can read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, now available
Through Dr. Dave Wang's research, we have learned that
Confucian moral philosophy among the colonists in the North American colonies. For instance, in 1737, Franklin published
chapters from The Morals
of Confucius in his widely circulated The Pennsylvania
Gazette. A decade later, Franklin told George Whitefield that
Confucian moral philosophy belonged to all human beings. It is evident that Franklin Franklin held Confucian
philosophies in high regard. He
as his example. Since Franklin's
statement is very significant I will quote in the following:
"I am glad to hear that you have frequent opportunities of preaching among the great. If you can gain them to a good and exemplary life, wonderful changes will follow in the manners of the lower ranks; for, ad Exemplum Regis, &c. On this principle Confucius, the famous eastern reformer, proceeded. When he saw his country sunk in vice, and wickedness of all kinds triumphant, he applied himself first to the grandees; and having by his doctrine won them to the cause of virtue, the commons followed in multitudes. The mode has a wonderful influence on mankind; and there are numbers that perhaps fear less the being in Hell, than out of the fashion! Our more western reformations began with the ignorant mob; and when numbers of them were gained, interest and party-views drew in the wise and great. Where both methods can be used, reformations are like to be more speedy. O that some method could be found to make them lasting! He that shall discover that, will, in my opinion, deserve more, ten thousand times, than the inventor of the longtitude."
Finally, I should make it clear that
's Junto aimed to improve its
members' virtues following Confucian moral philosophy. In this point, Junto was different from contemporary Confucius institutes. Franklin
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Usually, American exceptionalism can be traced to Alexis De Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the country as "exceptional" in 1831 and 1840. American exceptionalism is the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other nations.
Actually, the notion that the United States is a different country is older than that. The founders of the United States worked hard to make the United States a new nation on the earth. Thomas Paine in this widely read Common Sense expressed for the first time the belief that American was not just an extension of Europe but a new land. From In his paper Confucius in the American Founding (Virginia Review of Asian Studies, vol. 16, 2014), Dr. Dave Wang states that the American Revolution was also simultaneously a moral revolution. While the founders were concerned with preserving their civil liberties and economic freedom through their stance, “no taxation without representation,” they were also concerned with public morality. They fully understood that the war was as much a battle against “the corruption of 18th century British high society” as it was against financial oppression. As a result, the founding fathers were determined to construct new virtues responding to the needs of the new nation. Having seen the results of the moral corruption in the old world, the founders worked diligently to use all valuable moral resources available for them to create virtues for the new nation.
As the main designers of the new nation, the founders knew that it took more than a perfect plan of government to preserve liberty. They needed some moral principles accepted by the people to encourage them to obey laws voluntarily. They recognized that a free government should be supported by people who could act morally without compulsion, and would not willfully violate the rights of others. Benjamin Franklin firmly believed that "Laws without morals are in vain." Cultivating new virtues for the fledgling United States therefore became one of the most significant themes during this time of social and political transformation. Thomas Jefferson believed the United States was founded on the confidence of a free and virtuous people. Jefferson sought a radical break from the traditional European morality. He opposed the system of the ruling family over the needs of the people. With this notion in mind, the founders turned to Confucian moral philosophy. These efforts to build new virtue for the new nation laid the intellectual foundations for the Revolutionary concept of American exceptionalism.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
The founders of the United States were intellectually men of the age of the Enlightenment. One of the most important features of the Enlightenment was that Chinese civilization, particularly Confucius moral philosophy, was highly regarded by main frontrunners of the Enlightenment. Confucius’ principle of that the people possess the power of overthrowing a governor who exploits people was accepted as one of the universal principles in human affairs. The direct influence of this principle is manifestly evident in the Declaration of Independence.
It shouldn’t be regarded as coincidence that he principal writer of it, Thomas Jefferson, was made out of the Enlightenment. Traditional nations have their own ethnic traditions. However, the founders of United States were reluctant to carry across the Atlantic the virtue of their old country. The founders believed the moral corruption in Europe should be excluded from the New Nation. Therefore, they were determined to create new virtue for the new nation. In their eyes, creation of new virtue was so important that its success or not would regulate the future of the direction of the nation they created.
If you want to know more about how Confucian moral philosophy made its mark on the founding of the United States, I recommend you to read Dr. Dave Wang’s article, CONFUCIUS IN THE AMERICAN FOUNDING: THE FOUNDERS’ EFFORTS TO USE CONFUCIAN MORAL PHILOSOPHY IN THEIR ENDEAVOR TO CREATE NEW VIRTUE FOR THE NEW NATION, in Virginia Review of Asian Studies, Volume 16 (2014). In order to understand fully the United States history, the founders’ efforts to draw positive elements from Chinese civilization should be examined carefully. Their efforts shouldn’t be buried in the piles of historical documents that describe that the United States was formed mainly based on the English heritage and the Christian and Greco-Roman traditions. Today all the nations of the world are in one process of modernization. The founders’ way of dealing with other civilizations has provided a great model for all the nations in the world. The founders’ ideas that learn from other civilizations should be adopted by all mankind.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
It is well-known that "for much of their history, Americans defined their society in opposition to Europe." "America, it was argued, was a distinct civilization." George Washington had believed that “the new nation would develop a unique American character.” Thomas Jefferson alleged 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. President Barack Obama made it clear that “Americans know the richness of China's history because it helped to shape the world and it helped to shape America. We know the talent of the Chinese people because they have helped to create this great country." (-Barack Obama in his remarks at U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July 27, 2009) Former President William Jefferson 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.”
The founding fathers of the United States were among the main weavers of the fiber of American civilization. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had positive attitudes towards Chinese civilization and worked hard to borrow from it in their efforts to make a new and flourishing society in North America. For example, Benjamin Franklin studied and promoted Confucian Moral philosophy in his effort to cultivate his own virtue as well as to encourage Americans to do the same. George Washington personally supported the opening of trade with China. He also conducted an experiment to grow Chinese flowers in his garden. Thomas Jefferson incorporated Chinese architectural elements into his own buildings in Monticello.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
This title is borrowed from Dr. John Ruff’s speech in China. I was deeply impressed by Dr. Ruff candid and clear statement, “I first became aware of the Chinese influence on American founders through the writings of Dave Wang, an independent scholar living in New York who writes extensively on the subject.” Dr. Ruff’s testimony serves as another important indicator of showing the academic impact of Dr. Dave Wang’s research on American scholars and professors. Dr. John Ruff, a professor of Valparaiso University, delivered his speech at Chinese Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou on June 7, 2013. According to the University’s webpage, Dr. Ruff talked the following in his speech: Introduced Poor Richard, a character from Benjamin Franklin’s Almanac, and showed some passages from Franklin’s The Way to Wealth. He also told the true story of the Franklin Stove and its link to China.
In his speech, Professor Ruff connected Franklin to Confucius, and Confucius’ influence on Franklin’s life and happiness. He also introduced Franklin’s 13 virtues and Franklin’s efforts for achieving them. Dr. Ruff served as Director of the Valparaiso University First Year Core Program. He was former assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Valparaiso and presently vice-chair of the Faculty Senate. Ruff has a keen interest in ancient and contemporary Chinese culture. He has made several presentations at academic conferences on the Eastern and Western thoughts. In 2012, Dr. Ruff, earned the Valparaiso University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award. In the spring of 2013 he delivered a lecture on Chinese cultural influence on Benjamin Franklin at Ansal University in Delhi, India.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
01.244. Whose Military Strategies Should the US in Afghanistan follow: Sun Tzu or Clausewitz? (posted on November 19, 2011)
02. 100. George Washington and the Empress of China (posted on October 22, 2008,)
03. 299. Benjamin Franklin and Ginseng (posted on February 24, 2013).
04. 241. Why Americans Don't Seek Aristocratic Titles and Honors (posted on Oct 30, 2011).
05. 302. What differentiates Chinese from Americans? (posted on April 9, 2013).
06. 116. China Trade in New England, 1800s (posted on November 27, 2008).
07. 297. Ginseng, Tea and the American Revolution (posted on February 7, 2013)
08. 259. Ginseng and the Founding Fathers (posted on April 28, 2012).
09. 215. Chinese Influence on American Culture (posted on March 29, 2011)
10. 307. The Ten Most Popular Posts in this Weblog (posted on May 1, 2013).
Readers of this blog will find that the five posts found in 2013 remain in the top ten popular list, including 100 (Ranking No. 4 in 2013), 299 (Ranking No. 2 in 2013), 241 (Ranking No. 7 in 2013), 297 (Ranking No. 1 in 2013) and 215 (Ranking No. 3 in 2013)
Sunday, October 12, 2014
In his well-known book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, Dr. Niall Ferguson stated, "The reason North America's ex-colonies did so much better than South America's was because British settlers established a completely different system of property rights and political representation in the North from those built by Spaniards and Portuguese in the South." (His above book, p.14) Dr. Ferguson tries to answer the big question, why in recent 500 years the West civilization prevailed in the world. Many scholars have tried to provide their convincing answers to the question.
I don’t have desire to make an attempt to formulate an authoritative answer to it. However, I want to add my small findings to the answer, probably ignored by Dr. Ferguson in his efforts to create his compelling respond to the question. I believe that Chinese factor was one of the main factors that responsible for the different results of the two Americas’ ex-colonies.
From reading this blog and Dr. Dave Wang’s publications on the founders and Chinese civilization, a reader should learn that the founders made their consistent efforts to borrow positive elements from Chinese civilization in their undertaking to build a new nation in North America. Chinese civilization served as a positive force helping colonies’ growth from their formation to the early period of the republic. For example, Benjamin Franklin recommended using the Great Wall of China to safeguard the newly founded United States during the early years of the new republic. As for how the founders used Confucius to cultivate new private virtue for the Americans, you can read Dr. Dave Wang's article Confucius in the American Founding: The Founder's efforts to use Confucian Moral Philosophy in their Endeavor to Create New Virtue for the New Nation, in Virginia Review of Asian Studies, Volume 16 (2014): 11-26.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
During his presidency, Thomas Jefferson included an ancient Chinese poem from Shijing ( 诗经 The Book of Odes) in his scrapbook. This poem 衛 風 is about an ancient Chinese prince who was set up as an example for other leaders of the nation to follow. Jefferson’s inclusion of this specific Chinese poem is significant and reveals his close ties to Confucian ideals. Confucius pointed out, ''He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.'' Jefferson aimed to make himself this “North Polar Star.”
Therefore, it was not a surprise that Thomas Jefferson regarded the Chinese prince, whom Confucius considered to be one of the ideal rulers to be his role model. The poem pays tribute to Prince Wei, who was loved and respected by the people of his state. Confucius praised Prince Wei when he quoted this poem in his famous book, The Great Learning, to provide a standard to aspire to other princes and leaders of various states. Jefferson’s choice to place this poem in his scrapbook reflects his determination to be as great a leader as Prince Wei. Therefore, “His mem’ry of eternal prime, Like truth defies the power of time!” Jefferson wanted himself to be “in manners goodly great, Refine the people of the state.” Jefferson used Prince Wei to encourage himself to be a leader loved by the future American people, just as Prince Wei was praised and remembered by all posterity.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Dave Wang of St. John’s University made the bold claim that Confucius was Franklin’s moral exemplar, and that 11 out of his 13 virtues were inspired by “The Morals of Confucius.” According to Dr. Wang, Franklin “consistently and systematically promoted the main principles of the Confucian moral philosophy” in his adult life. Is this wishful thinking, or a breakthrough about the source of Franklin’s personal philosophy? There are indeed some of Franklin’s virtues that are closely linked with Confucian philosophy. Franklin is clearly attracted to the Stoic philosophy of meditation, calm, reason, silence, and avoiding the extremes of anger, fear, and the emotions of mobs. But was this taken from Confucius, or from the Greeks, the Romans, and King Solomon?
According to Confucius, rulers and ministers had a special obligation to live a strict moral code and to teach it to their followers. Franklin approved of this approach. In a letter in 1749, he commended Rev. George Whitefield for preaching to high-ranking officials in government. “If you can gain them to a good and exemplary life, wonderful changes will follow in the manners of the lower ranks.” He then cited Confucius on this principle. “When he saw his country sunk in vice, and wickedness of all kinds triumphant, he applied himself first to the grandees; and having by his doctrine won them to the cause of virtue, the commons followed in multitudes.” Above all, Franklin loved the Chinese tradition of honoring the elderly."
The above is from Dr. Mark Skousen, “The Chinese Influence on Franklin” in Franklin Prosperity Report April 2011 / Vol. 3, No. 4 Note: Mark Skousen, Ph.D., a sixth-generation grandson of Benjamin Franklin .
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Today, September 28, is the birthday of Confucius, the great teacher of morals. In order to celebrate the day, I post the following paragraph from Dr. Dave Wang's Paper, CONFUCIUS IN THE AMERICAN FOUNDING: THE FOUNDERS’ EFFORTS TO USE CONFUCIAN MORAL PHILOSOPHY IN THEIR ENDEAVOR TO CREATE NEW VIRTUE FOR THE NEW NATION . It was published by Virginia Review of Asian Studies,Vol. 16 (2014), pp.11-26.
During the founding of the United States, the Founding Fathers “managed to establish a set of ideas and institutions that, over the stretch of time, became the blueprint for political and economic success for the nation-state in the modern world.” My intent is to bring to light to what was the founders’ efforts to adopt some principles of Confucian moral philosophy and made them into the fiber of the new virtue met the requirement of a free and democratic society. The founders tried to develop good morals to ensure that the democratic system would function in correct direction. They attempted to use Confucian moral philosophy to safeguard the democratic system, build private virtue, and bring up citizens with good morals to serve the new nation. Through the founders’ efforts, Confucian moral philosophy contributed greatly to the formation of the American virtue.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
As one of the main founders of the new nation, Thomas Jefferson eventually became the third president of the nation after his victory in the election of 1800. For Jefferson who tired of metaphysics, a practical religion that advanced private virtue, such as Confucianism has a definite appeal. As president, Jefferson realized the importance of Confucian values to keep his ideals alive and move the country forward. His inauguration speech reflected his thoughts on how to make the United States a great nation.
Remarkably, Jefferson showed his confidence in using Confucian moral values in his efforts to lead the new nation in 1801. In front of the representatives celebrating his victory, Jefferson made the following statement: Let us then, with courage and confidence, pursue our own federal and republican principles; our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; …. enlightened by a benign religion, professed indeed and practised in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude and the love of man, acknowledging and adoring an overruling providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here, and his greater happiness hereafter; with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people?
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Confucius maintained that the people should be led by leaders who governed through their virtue rather than using their laws. He believed that if a government rested its rule entirely on laws, its people would try to escape punishment and have no sense of shame. Therefore, he reasoned that if the people were led by virtue, they would possess a sense of shame and follow their leaders through their own will. 【第一章】子曰、為政以德、譬如北辰、居其所、而眾星共之。 CHAP. I. The Master said, ''He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.'' 【第三章】【一節】子曰、道之以政、齊之以刑、民免而無恥。【二節】道 之以德、齊之以禮、有恥且格。 CHAP. III. 1. The Master said, ''If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. 2. ''If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.''
In 1778, two years after the colonists declared their independence, Franklin addressed the significance of the morality. He pointed out the necessity of governing with morality, especially for the leaders of the United States. He told his fellow Americans that 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."
Monday, September 8, 2014
Some prominent figures of the day also recognized the value of Confucian teachings. For instance, John Bartram (1699-1777), a well-known botanist in the colonies, was very interested in Chinese philosophy, particularly in the personality of Confucius. Bartram’s paper, “Life and Character of the Chinese Philosopher Confucius,” introduced Confucius’ life to his readers. James Logan (1674-1751), another very influential colonist in Philadelphia, acquired a copy of the first European printing of Confucius philosophy for his personal library in 1733.
Logan was not satisfied with the translation by the Jesuits and showed his desire to obtain the “true sense” of Confucianism. Joel Barlow (1754-1812), an American poet and diplomat, considered Confucius to be one of the wisest philosophers in the history of antiquity. Jedidiah Morse (1761-1826), a notable geographer, praised Daxue (大学 Great Learning) and Zhongyong (中庸 the Doctrine of the Mean), two of the four classics of Confucius.
Morse extolled the two classics as “the most excellent precepts of wisdom and virtue, expressed with the greatest eloquence, elegance and precision.” Morse also compared Confucius with Socrates. He pointed out that Confucius was “very striking, and which far exceeds, in clearness, the prophecy of Socrates." A contemporary author found that Morse's high praise of the Chinese sage “is especially significant” because Morse wrote his Geography for the youth of America and “considered it a means of instructing students in patriotism and morality."
Thursday, September 4, 2014
The great founders’ collective esteem of Confucius during the formation of the United States has stimulated my curiosity to find why Confucius’ moral teachings became so important. The American Revolution was a political revolution which marked the birth of the United States as a new nation. However, it was also simultaneously a moral revolution.
While the founders were concerned with preserving their civil liberties and economic freedom through their stance, “no taxation without representation,” they were also concerned with public morality. They fully understood that the war was as much a battle against “the corruption of 18th century British high society” as it was against financial oppression. As a result, the founding fathers were determined to construct new virtues responding to the needs of the new nation. Having seen the results of the moral corruption in the old world, the founders worked diligently to use all valuable moral resources available for them to create virtues for the new nation.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
This poster is a kind of old, which was designed in 2007. However, I feel that it is interesting. It serves as a memory for Dr. Dave Wang's speech, Benjamin Franklin and the Great Wall of China, at Benjamin Franklin House in London. The house is the only museum in London for this great founding father of the United States. Franklin lived in this house from 1757 to 1775.
Most readers of my blog have been amazed by Franklin's vision to use valuable elements from Chinese civilization in his efforts to build a great nation in North America. I don't remember if any other prestigious figures in North American colonies raised the notion of the Great Wall of China around the founding of the United States.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
I want to find out the impact of Dr. Dave Wang's publications on the Internet. From the printcreen on the left you can tell that Dr. Dave Wang's research has reached the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I just searched "Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Chinese civilization" in Google search bar.
I find some information that shows the impact of Dr. Dave Wang's research on the US founders and Chinese civilization. Most importantly, you will find Dr. Wang's research has been cited in great works by prestigious scholars.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Dave Wang, PhD — manager of Queens Library in Laurelton — said the early Americans saw ginseng “as a valuable opportunity to break their economic blockage by Britain” (e-mail, April 23, 2012). Other sources document the Empress as an attempt to establish a new source of tea, which was becoming dearly missed after the United States was banned from trading with the British West Indies. Meanwhile, China also had a need for new ginseng sources. Though the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) first sought to protect the region’s ginseng populations by controlling collection, it eventually gave up that mission. “[The Empress] triumphed because it made it there and back, and made a profit, which was never guaranteed at that point in time.
Economically, it was important in terms of making contact between the US and China,” said Taylor, noting a Congressional resolution, passed after the Empress’s return, encouraging more such ventures. According to Dr. Wang, American ginseng “was the most important commercial good in the trade between China and the United States during the late 1700s leading into the early 1800s.” The above paragraph is from Lindsay Stafford' s article, First US-China Trade Ship Carried 30 Tons of American Ginseng Helped Establish American Identity and Roots of International Trade. It is available on line from this link.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
As the main designers of the new nation, the founders knew that it took more than a perfect plan of government to preserve liberty. They needed some moral principles accepted by the people to encourage them to obey laws voluntarily. They recognized that a free government should be supported by people who could act morally without compulsion, and would not willfully violate the rights of others.
Benjamin Franklin firmly believed that "Laws without morals are in vain. (quid leges sine moribus vanae proficient)" Cultivating new virtues for the fledgling United States therefore became one of the most significant themes during this time of social and political transformation. With this notion in mind, the founders turned to Confucian moral philosophy.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
I found the poster that promotes Dr. Dave Wang's speech on Benjamin Franklin and Confucian Moral Philosophy in Rome, Italy several years ago. It reflects the fact that the Italians are very interested in how Confucius moral philosophy influenced Franklin, the giant icon of American culture. Dr. Dave Wang still remembers the good questions raised from the floor during his presentation. Some scholars from Universities and the Center for American Studies in Rome had a great discussion with Dr. Dave Wang.
In the 18th century colonial society, the impact of Confucius was widely discussed in the North American colonies. Some eminent colonists, including Benjamin Franklin, expressed their respect for the philosopher. Franklin followed Confucius’ procedure for moral cultivation and started to develop his own virtues as early as 1727. Franklin saw it as his responsibility to spread Confucius’ moral teachings.
Franklin published some chapters from Morals of Confucius in his widely circulated Pennsylvania Gazette in 1737 . Franklin also made it clear that he regarded Confucius as his role model in 1749. In August 1775, just before the eve of the Independence, Thomas Paine revealed a vital and informed interest in China. He published a series of works about China in the Pennsylvania Magazine.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
【侨报记者管黎明6月20日纽约报道】以研究美国建国之父们 (US Founders) 与中国的经济文化渊源而著称的纽约华人学者王小良 (Dave Wang) 近来再次受到美国学术界的关注，他的《孔子与美国的建国：美国开国元勋致力用孔子的道德哲学》（CONFUCIUS IN THE AMERICAN FOUNDING: THE FOUNDERS’ EFFORTS TO USE CONFUCIAN MORAL PHILOSOPHY IN THEIR ENDEAVOR TO CREATE NEW VIRTUE FOR THE NEW NATION）在最新一期《弗吉尼亚亚洲研究评论》（VIRGINIA REVIEW OF ASIAN STUDIES）上发表。富兰克林的第八代后裔马克斯•卡乌森教授 Mark Skousen) 也致函王小良，表示要在《富兰克林后裔报道》中开设专栏。
目前在皇后区Laurelton图书馆担任馆长的王小良表示，开国元勋们对孔子的情有独钟可以从《美国宪法》之父、《人权宣言》的作者詹姆斯•麦迪逊James Madison (1751-1836）的家中看出。他在自己的家里特地悬挂了孔子的画像。而美国革命的主要推动者之一、对动员殖民地人民起来革命起到至关重要作用的小册子《常识》Common Sense 的作者，托马斯•潘恩Thomas Paine (1737-1809)，则将孔子同耶稣基督、苏格拉底置于同等地位。本杰明•富兰克林 Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) 被公认为美国精神的创始人，他曾庄严地声明，孔子的道德哲学对整个人类都有价值。托马斯•杰斐逊 Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)，《美国独立宣言》 Declaration of Independence 的主要起草人，将孔子《诗经》中的《 衛风》放在自己选编的参考文集里。他一再表明自己要做一个《 衛风》中所歌颂的青史留名，为人民所怀念的领袖。其他的主要开国元勋，比如约翰•亚当斯 John Adams (1735-1826)，本杰明•拉什 Benjamin Rush (1746-1813)，在设计美国未来发展蓝图时，对孔子的道德哲学也做了高度评价。
王小良早年在西雅图的华盛顿大学作访问学者，后来于1993到2000年在亚利桑纳大学先后获得硕士和博士学位。他目前是纽约皇后区图书馆Laurelton分馆的馆长，之前担任赫利斯（Hollis）分馆馆长。他的研究成果曾获得众多美国学术期刊的关注和报道 下面我列出一些推介王小良博士研究成果的报道： 王小良开创性研究受美国学界瞩目 中国文化影响美国 王小良研究受主流关注 王小良和“美国开国元勋与中国”研究 中国文化影响美国 王小良研究受主流关注 研究美國開國元勳與中國淵源 王小良入選夏威夷州歷史教育理事會 中國文化影響美國 美国开国元勋富兰克林对孔子的高度评价 孔子思想对北美殖民地社会的影响——本杰明富兰克林对孔子的评价 王小良新作揭示鲜为人知历史 花旗参对中美文化影响深远 美国国父也有中国梦
Saturday, June 14, 2014
The American Revolution was a political revolution which marked the birth of the United States as a new nation. However, it was also simultaneously a moral revolution. While the founders were concerned with preserving their civil liberties and economic freedom through their stance, “no taxation without representation,” they were also concerned with public morality. They fully understood that the war was as much a battle against “the corruption of 18th century British high society” as it was against financial oppression. As a result, the founding fathers were determined to construct new virtues responding to the needs of the new nation. Having seen the results of the moral corruption in the old world, the founders worked diligently to use all valuable moral resources available for them to create virtues for the new nation.
Public virtue was regarded as a foundation of freedom. Private virtue was considered the most important element of the public virtue. Private virtue meant being a person of integrity; such qualities essential to private virtue included being honest in one’s dealings with others, being faithful in one’s duties to one’s family, and controlling one’s appetites. The qualities that private virtue emphasized could be found in the values that Confucius promoted. For instances, one of the main tenets of Confucian moral philosophy was a positive passion for the public good and public interest.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
The above is the web page for Dr. Dave Wang's academic lecture on Benjamin Franklin and Confucius in 2007. The reason I put it here is that a very special guest sit in the lecture. Dr. Mark Skousen, the 8th generation direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin, came to listen to the lecture. It was a great lecture. Dr. Skousen and other scholars from the Benjamin Franklin Friends Association raised many good questions. In the same year Dr.Skousen finished his book The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1757) (Vol. I),(Regnery Publishing, 2007) A must-read for everyone interested in American history, Franklin’s engaging autobiography paints a vivid portrait, in his own words, of the man who would become one of America’s most beloved Founding Fathers. With an introduction and edited by direct descendant Mark Skousen, this classic and beloved book is well followed by The Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin, which finishes what the original Autobiography begins, taking the reader from 1757 through Franklin’s death in 1790 – years for which Ben Franklin is most famous. ,
Thursday, May 29, 2014
The back (reverse) of the nickel pictures Monticello, Jefferson's house. The back reads, "E PLURIBUS UNUM" (which means, "Out of many, one"), "MONTICELLO," "FIVE CENTS," and "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." Monticello (meaning “little mountain” in Italian) is widely considered one of the greatest architectural treasures in the United States. Jefferson regarded Monticello as his “architectural ideas and experiments.”
In his own construction, Jefferson adopted a Chinese style lattice about 1771. He installed “Chinese Railings” to border Monticello’s upraised terrace walk. In fact, Jefferson loved the Chinese railing so much that he designed the Chinese lattice for the house at Edgehill, Virginia before 1798. About 1802, Jefferson used the lattice for the house at Farmington. He also designed the Chinese lattice for his dwelling house at Barboursville. Jefferson also built Chinese lattice in the Swan house in Dorchester. Jefferson continued to use in balcony the railings until his death in 1826.
Friday, May 23, 2014
John Ledyard (1751-1789)worked hard to win the support from leaders of the fledgling United States. The leaders of the new nation, suffering from economic chaos, were pondering how to lead the nation out of its distressed circumstances in the wake of the victory in the Revolutionary War. Ledyard convinced whoever interested in his China plan by predicting opening trade with China “could save our country from bankruptcy on profit of the fur trade.” The China trade could also, “give our United States a place in the commercial world.”
Ledyard travelled to Philadelphia, the new nation’s economical and political center, where his “revolutionary new plan for China trade” attracted Robert Morris (1734-1806), one of the founding fathers. Morris, the Financier of the American Revolution, was the Superintendent of Finance of the United States when Ledyard met him. In June 1783, Ledyard had a conference with Morris. He detailed Morris his sailing route from the United States to China. In accordance with the route, a ship would sail around Cape Horn to the Pacific West, where the ship could buy furs pelts from the local Indians. Then the ship would sail to China with the furs, where those things would be “sold at fabulous prices.”
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Ginseng, the herb that grew in North America, played an important role in promoting the relations between the newly founded United States and China. It helped the founders of the United States in their efforts to open direct trade with China. The huge demand of the Ginseng forced the Chinese merchants to look for Ginseng from other places in the world.
When the American Ginseng carried by the Empress of China reached Canton, all Ginseng carried over were sold out quickly in the unbelievable price. Not long after the Empress of China made great profit from the Ginseng trade, the joint supercargo, reported to Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), Secretary of Treasure, “In the year of 1784, on the 22d of February, the ship Empress of China, being the first ship that ever sailed from United States for China, was sent to Canton by a company of American merchants; her cargo consists of Spanish dollars, about four hundred peculs of Genseng (Ginseng) , a piculs being 133/⅓ Ib English Avoirdu poids, some cordage, wine, lead, iron a few furs, with other trifling articles not worthy enumerating.”
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Twenty years later, Franklin raised the notion of the Great Wall again, this time in the Revolutionary War. In his correspondence to Chavelier de Kermorvan (1740-1817) Franklin recommended that a wall like the Great Wall of China should be erected in defending the newly independent nation. Having arrived in America early June 1776, Chevelier served in the Continental Army as an engineer, involved with fortifications at Billingsport, below Philadelphia on the Delaware River, and at Perth Amboy, opposite Staten Island. He apparently "made himself 'disagreeable ' to General Washington (1732-1799) and his army staff with his criticism of all military operations" during the 1777 Philadelphia Campaign, and was 'invited to leave' the headquarters of Washington's army. He went on to serve with Morgan's riflemen at Saratoga. However, he failed to attract the recognition that he believed was his due and returned to France in late 1778 or 1779.
Franklin’s recommendation reveals the fact that Franklin regarded the Great Wall of China to be valuable to safeguard the American Revolution. The history of Franklin’s efforts to build forts in frontier tells that Franklin’s recommendation was based on his personal experiences in the fighting fields. He had built a line of forts before he made the recommendation. Franklin’s recommendation demonstrates that Franklin used his knowledge of Chinese civilization to solve problems existing in North America’s colonies. Most importantly, Franklin’s recommendation has served as another example of how Franklin constantly and tirelessly used the positive elements from Chinese civilization to help his efforts to make North American colonies a flourishing society.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was deeply impressed by China. Due to the lack of direct communication between China and North America in Benjamin Franklin era, Franklin was forced to make his extra efforts to collect information on China. When in Europe, Franklin tried every means to find books on China and read them. Although it is difficult to find out how many books on China Franklin read, we can tell from his determinnation to follow Confucius' moral teachings to cultivate his virture and from his great efforts to borrow Chinese technologies Franklin's reading list was very inclusive, including subjects such as literature, economic and natural sciences.
Unsatisfied with the books he read, he tried to approach people who had been to China in person. In order to obtain information on Chinese life and customs, he contacted the “sailors on the Packet who had previously made the trip to the China seas.” Later in his life, Franklin obtained “his knowledge of Chinese navigation from Captain Truxtun who in the following year himself made the voyage to China.” Franklin even tried to visit China personally, and told one of his friends, “If he were a young man he should like to go to China.”
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) admired Voltaire (1694-1778), the French leader of the Age of Enlightenment. Voltaire regarded Confucianism as a high system of morals, and Confucius as the greatest of all sages. From Jefferson’s speech, it is evident that Jefferson accepted the Confucian concept of the true gentleman, and the belief that a good moral foundation was the foundation of a good government.
Jefferson’s vision for a better United States was largely based in a benign religion and a wise government. The morals Jefferson listed in his inauguration speech were the same moral principles that Confucius maintained. Jefferson also enshrined the Confucian moral principle that a ruler loses his mandate if the people don't approve in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Dr. Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), an ardent patriot, asserted in a 1798 essay on education in the new republic that “the only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
Having expressed his veneration for Confucianism which “reveals the attributes of the Deity,” Rush declared that he had rather see the opinions of Confucius “inculcated upon our youth, than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles.”
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Thomas Paine (1737-1809), the famous polemicist of republicanism, regarded Confucius as one of the world's great moral teachers. In his Age of Reason, 1791-1792, Paine listed Confucius with Jesus and the Greek philosophers as one of the world's great moral teachers. Paine reiterated this point in an article he wrote a decade later for The Prospect, a New York magazine: As a book of morals there are several parts of the New Testament that are good, but they are no other than what had been preached in the East world several hundred years before Christ was born. Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, who lived five hundred years before the time of Christ says, ‘acknowledge thy benefits by the turn of benefits, but never revenge injuries.’ Remarkably, Paine used Confucius’ moral codes in his political dispatches with the Federalists.
Paine criticized the moral faults of some federalists and told them to follow Confucius teaching. He told them if they would follow this commandment, they would be “leaving off lying.” “As to the hypocritical abuse thrown out by the federalists on other subjects, I recommend to them the observance of a commandment that existed before either Christian or Jew existed. "Thou shalt make a covenant with thy senses, "With thine eye, that it beholds no evil. "With thine ear, that it hear no evil. "With thy tongue, that it speak no evil. "With thy hands that they cemmit no evils.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
John Adams (1735-1826)realized that virtue ennobled individual character and lifted the entire society. Virtue encompasses a variety of characteristics, such as humility, industry and goodwill. These precepts serve as the cornerstones for both individual and societal governance. Adams came to the conclusion, "All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue. Confucius … agreed in this".
Adams’ statement conveys the significance of virtue for a good government and the significance of Confucius's moral philosophy in Adams’ own efforts to bring up “the minds of the people”. John Adam showed his high regard for Confucius virtues and believed that any good Americans should possess these traits. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Adams criticized the English theologian and natural philosopher Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) for ignoring Confucius in his writing: Priestley ought to have given us a sketch of the religion and morals ...of Confucius, and all the founders of religions before Christ, whose superiority would, from such a comparison, have appeared the more transcendent.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
In today's New York Times, March 19, 2014, Thomas L. Friedman pointed out the direction for the United States, which is to make America "a global technology and moral leader and ensure that the next generation can thrive here on earth." (see his op-ed article, From Putin, A blessing in Disguise). I like to read Mr. Friedman's article.
Dr. Dave Wang just finished an article, "Confucius in American Founding," and sent it to the chief editor yesterday. It is well-known that the American Revolution was a political revolution which marked the birth of the United States as a new nation. However, it was also simultaneously a moral revolution. While the founders were concerned with preserving their civil liberties and economic freedom through their stance, “no taxation without representation,” they were also concerned with public morality.
The founders of the United States fully understood that the war was as much a battle against “the corruption of 18th century British high society” as it was against financial oppression. As a result, the founding fathers were determined to construct new virtues responding to the needs of the new nation. Having seen the results of the moral corruption in the old world, the founders worked diligently to use all valuable moral resources available for them to create virtues for the new nation. If history is a guide, we can understand the significance of being a "moral leader." We have to admire Thomas Friedman's wisdom and the founding fathers' foresight.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Among Chinese porcelain wares, Washington had a special fondness for blue-and-white porcelain. I have found at least nine recorded references to his purchase of blue-and-white Chinese porcelain in Washington's Papers. Samuel Fraunces (ca 1722-1795), realizing that Washington loved this, found an assortment of blue-and-white china for Washington. As the War of Independence came to an end and the focus of American officers and troops turned toward their civilian futures, Washington began to search for a large set of chinaware for Mount Vernon.
Washington wrote to Daniel Parker (a partner with William Duer and John Holker in a company formed to provision the Continental Army) in occupied New York and requested "a neat and complete sett of blue and white table China" With the help of Samuel Fraunces, Parker collected 205 pieces of blue-and-white porcelain before September. Edward Nicole, Jr. also provided some blue-and-white pieces for Washington. Washington learned through an advertisement in The Maryland Gazette and Baltimore Advertiser on August 12, 1785, that the Pallas, which was coming directly back from China, would be selling its cargo, including blue-and-white Chinese porcelain. He wrote to Tench Tilghman, his former military aide, and asked him to inquire about the conditions of sale and price.Five days later Washington, at Mount Vernon, learned that "the Cargo is to be sold at public Venue, on the first of October," and wrote a letter to Tench Tilgman in which Washington asking him to buy “a set of large blue and White China Dishes with the badge of the Society of the Cincinnati" and the best Hyson Tea, one dozen small blue-and white porcelain bowls and best Nankeens.
In July 1790, when two ships had just arrived in New York from Canton, Tobias Lear asked Clement Biddle to purchase and send to Mount Vernon blue-and-white china tea and coffee services for twenty-four persons with three or four matching slop bowls for tea dregs. A week later Biddle sent to Mount Vernon a box marked GW containing 3 dozen china cups & saucers, 2 dozen coffee cups & saucers, & 4 slop bowls by the sloop Dolphin, Captain Carhart, on 6 August, 1790.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Chinese influence on architecture remained conspicuous after the founding of the United States. In the 1790s a member of the American Philosophical Society, Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest (1739-1801)- built a home near Philadelphia known as China's Retreat. The building adopted a Chinese-style cupola on the roof. The windows, similar to screens in Chinese homes, were double leaves that slid into pockets in the walls. The buildings that used Chinese "touches" added “decorative embellishments to an otherwise Occidental plan and structure."
Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz (1758-1841), a Polish visitor, wrote a vivid description of the house and its contents. The house was "immense, surmounted with a cupola and decorated with golden serpents in the Chinese manner. Six tabourets of porcelain were arranged in a circle in the peristyle." Thomas Jefferson showed interest in Chinese garden styles while designing a garden on his property. For Jefferson, gardening was "the complement to building, in the activity of a country gentleman." In his eyes, gardens were "peculiarly worth the attention of an American, because it is the country of all others where the noblest gardens may be made without expense." He used his free time to draw up plans for his garden, and finally decided to ornament his garden with a Chinese style.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Readers of my blog that introduces Dr. Dave Wang's research (王小良博士）know that the founders of the United States made their efforts to use positive elements from Chinese civilization to build a new nation. It would be wrong if one thinks that the founders picked up everything from China. Yes, it is no doubt that Chinese civilization is a great civilization.
However, it is not right to state that everything from China is great. That's why Dr. Dave Wang demonstrates to us that the founders applied the positive elements from Chinese civilization for the purpose of creating a new nation in the world over 200 years ago. Recently I found Elizabeth Economy's online article, Time for the United States to learn from China.
I am not so sure when the time for the United States to learn from China is/was? For my readers, it was clear that during the founding era the founders and other colonists of the North American Colonies learned a lot from China. Dr. Elizabeth Economy is the C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. You'd better to read her article to find out when the United State should learn from China. It is very interesting.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Not long ago, in a University at Manhattan I asked a group of graduate students, "Any of you knows where the US China relations were started?" They were surprised when I told them that the relations were started right here, New York. I don't know how many people remember today, February 22. 230 years ago, some heroes of the American Revolutionary War, under the support of the founding fathers of the United States, gathered on the ship, the Empress of China, and started her virgin sail to China from the East River between Manhattan and the Long Island.
As of today, the relations between China and the United States have walked through 230 years. Clearly, without the efforts of the revolutionary veterans who overcame numerous challenges established the direct connections between the oldest nation and the newest nation in then world, there would be no 230 anniversary.
I would like to introduce you Dr. Dave Wang's article, with China We Trade published by Asian Times on Line. Embodying Americans' hope to break through the British blockade and revitalize the depressed postwar economy, the Empress of China, the first American commercial ship after its independence, left New York for Canton (Guangzhou), China, on February 22, 1784. Before the Empress of China left the East River Harbor of New York, George Washington duly signed the sea letter, guiding the purpose of the Empress of China's voyage. Dr. Dave Wang's paper is available with this link.
Monday, February 17, 2014
George Washington regarded Europe as only a sideshow that must not divert attention from the permanent strategic interests of the US . He had not wanted to do business with England after the revolution. In October 1783, six months before the Empress of China started her virgin voyage to China, Washington made it clear in his letter to Marquis de Lafayette, a general in the American Revolutionary War and later a leader of the Garde Nationale during the French Revolution, that "I do not incline to send to England (from whence formerly I had all my goods) for anything I can get upon tolerable terms elsewhere."
Where could the Americans trade for what they needed? His solution was for the newly founded US to develop its commercial relationship with China. Even before the departure of the Empress of China, Washington had discussed the possibilities of this engagement with people like Ezra Stiles, the president of Yale College.
Washington had realized that the American merchants "will carry the American 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 [the Yellow River] and the Yang-ti-king [Yangtze River], and with commerce will import the wisdom and literature of the East." While the Empress of China was still on her way to China, Washington told Thomas Jefferson that "from trade our citizen will not be restrained".
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
王小良开创性研究受美国学界瞩目 发布于 2014-02-01, 周六 01:22 【侨报记者管黎明1月29日纽约报道】在全球华人龙腾虎跃迎马年的时候，在早期中美关系研究领域耕耘多年的华人学者王小良 (Dave Wang)也迎来一份特殊的喜讯——他所从事的关于中华文明对美国早期发展，包括殖民地以及建国时期的影响在美国学术界正受到越来越多的重视。许多大学的教授将他的研究成果作为教学资料，也有许多学者在其著作中引述王小良的研究。
王小良的代表性论文之一《本杰明•富兰克林与中国：美国建国时期本杰明•富兰克林努力汲取中华文明的积极因素的考察》（Benjamin Franklin and China: A Survey of Benjamin Franklin’s Efforts at Drawing Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization during the Formative Age of the United States）被全美纪念富兰克林诞辰三百周年网站（www.benfranlin300.org/eassays.htm）收藏，该组织由前总统小布什担任荣誉主席。
同时，哈佛大学肯尼迪政府学院的客座教授 Richard Rosecrance 在他和别人一起编撰的著作《力量与制约：美中关系的共同视角》（Power and Restraint: A Shared Vision for the U.S-China Relationship）中，也对王小良有关富兰克林与中国的研究多有引述。 加州大学圣地亚哥分校的历史系教授 Sarah Schneewind 在她的论文《托马斯•杰斐逊的独立宣言与武王太誓》（Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and King Wu’s First Great Announcement）中，引用了王小良博士的论文《所有子孙后代都会铭记我的遗产：托马西•杰斐逊与传说中的中国王子》（All Posterity Would Remember My Legacy: Thomas Jefferson and a Legendary Chinese Prince）。 美国植物学会的Lindsay Stafford在她的论文《首航中国的美国货船满载30吨美国人参：帮助中国人认知了美国并植下了国际贸易之根》（First US-China Trade Ship Carried 30 Tons of American Ginseng: Helped Establish American Identity and Roots of International Trade，HebalEgram: Volume 9, Number 5, May 2012）中引用了王小良的论文《人参帮助美国进入国际贸易》（Ginseng: the herb that helped the United States to enter International Commerce），来阐述美国的“花旗参”在早期中美贸易中的角色，以及两国贸易关系的历史渊源。
【侨报纽约网】 曾经先后在奥尔布赖特和鲍威尔两任国务卿任内担任美国国务院官员的美国教育家暨学者Patrick Mendis在他去年的新书《和平之争：中国梦和美国的宿命如何创建新的太平洋秩序》（Peaceful War: How the Chinese Dream and the American Destiny Create a New Pacific World Order）中，多处引用王小良有关本杰明•富兰克林如何基于孔夫子的道德哲学而发展出自己的用以提升道德修养的富兰克林“十三条警训”，Mendis同时也提到王小良的论文《托马斯•杰斐逊对中华文明积极因素的汲取》（Thomas Jefferson’s Incorporating Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization），借以阐述美国的建国之父们是如何中国的古代文明中汲取营养。Mendis的新书受到美国许多前政府高官的高度评价。
此外，王小良的研究也被许多教授应用于课堂教学和学术研究。波士顿 Emmanuel College 的资深教授 Michael St.Clair 特地写信给王小良，鼓励他的研究，并表示自己正准备出版的一部有关中国的著作中将引述和推介王小良的研究成果。南加州大学的一名学生在读到教授发给全班的阅读材料中包含的王小良的《美国开国元勋与中国》的论文后非常惊奇，他对教授表示，“我来自克利夫兰市，在读到王博士的论文前我根本不知道伊利运河的修建曾受到了中国运河理念的影响。” 目前王小良担任皇后区图书馆Laurelton分馆的馆长，同时也兼任圣约翰大学的教授。【侨报纽约网】
Saturday, January 25, 2014
In 1789, when George Washington was elected as the first president of the United States, he fully stated the significance of the China trade to his still-young country. He told the Marquis de Lafayette that the national revenues had been considerably more productive than had been imagined they would be because of the China trade. He then listed some examples: "A single vessel just arrived in this port pays $30,000 to government. Two vessels fitted out for the fur trade to the northwest coast of America have succeeded well. The whole outfits of vessels and cargoes cost but $7,000. One is returning home loaded with India produce, the other going back to the coast of America; and they have deposited $100,000 of their profits in China."
Since 1784, the value of American trade with China increased greatly. In 1790, it was estimated that trade with China accounted for about one seventh of US imported goods. By 1792, the value of the American trade with China had surpassed that of Holland, France and Denmark, and was second only to Great Britain, which had had established commercial relations with China for over 100 years. In 1840, American business with China amounted to nearly US$75 million, a sum greater than the total debt of the American Revolution.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
It is well-known that Dr. Dave Wang’s research in the field of Chinese cultural influences in the colonial period and the founding era of the United States has gained momentum in academic circles. Recently I have found that Dr. Wang’s publications have been widely cited by some prestigious authors. In the following, I will give the authors, the titles of their works, and the titles of Dr. Wang’s works that were cited. 01. Sarah Schneewind, University of California, San Diego, Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and King Wu’s First Great Announcement, Journal of American –East Asian Relations, 19,(2012 )75-91.
01. In her paper, Dr. Sara Schneewind cited Dr. Dave Wang. Paper, All Posterity Would Remember My Legacy: Thomas Jefferson and a Legendary Chinese Prince, Huaren E Magazine, September , 2008.
02. Lindsay Stafford, First US-China Trade Ship Carried 30 Tons of American Ginseng: Helped Establish American Identity and Roots of International Trade, HebalEgram: Volume 9, Number 5, May 2012, Dr. Lindsay Stafford cited Dr. Dave Wang’ paper, Ginseng: the herb that helped the United States to enter International Commerce, World Huren Federation Website.
03. Richard Rosecrance and Gu Guoliang, ed., Power and Restraint: A Shared Vision for the U.S-China Relationship, published by Public Affairs, 2009. The two authors cited Dr. Dave Wang’s paper, Benjamin Franklin and China: A Survey of Benjamin Franklin’s Efforts at Drawing Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization during the Formative Age of the United States, Essays and Articles for the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Website, http://www.benfranlin300.org/eassays.htm.
04. Ann Lee, What the U.S. Can Learn from China: An Open-Minded Guide to Treating Our Greatest Competitor as Our Greatest Teacher, published by Berrett-Koehler Publisher, Jan 9, 2012. Dr. Ann Lee cited Dr. Dave Wang’s paper, How China Helped Shape American Culture: The founding fathers and Chinese Civilization, Virginia Review of Asian Studies, 2010.
05. Patrick Mentis, Peaceful War: How the Chinese Dream and the American Destiny Created a Pacific New World Order, published Dr. Patrick Mentis cited Dr. Dave Wang’s paper, Thomas Jefferson’s Incorporating Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization, Virginia Review of Asian Studies, accessed January 26, 2013.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
We don’t know when George Washington started to drink tea. However, we know that his first recorded order for tea dates to December of 1757, when he wrote to England seeking "6 lb. best Hyson Tea" and "6 lb. best Green Ditto.". From Dr. Dave Wang’s paper CHINESE CIVILIZATION AND THE UNITED STATES: TEA, GINSENG, PORCELAIN WARE AND SILK IN COLONIAL AMERICA, Virginia Review of Asian Studies, one can find the photo, George Washington’s teapot and tea cups in his Valley Forge Headquarters. (Courtesy of Valley Forge National Historical Park.)
My friend, Jeffrey Bingham Mead, the President of Hawaii Historical Education Council, send me Tea, a paper by Mary V. Thompson, Research Historian, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. Mary finds that Washington drank tea throughout his life. She presents us a vivid picture of how Washington enjoyed Chinese tea. She explored the kinds of Chinese tea Washingtons drank and also teapots and cups very intersecting, Mary told us that even Washington’s slaves have tea ware. Possibly George allowed his slaves to enjoy tea. It needs more research to find out if the slaves really enjoyed tea. A reader will find from her paper two beautiful photos showing you Washington’s teapot and tea bowl imported from China. Thank Mary, who presents us a Washington tea culture. Enjoy Mary's paper based on her 37 years of research now.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
In his new book, Peaceful War; How the Chinese Dream and the American Destiny Create a Pacific New World Order, Dr. Partick Mendis told his readers, "Among his many proverbial statements, Dr. Dave Wang, an American scholar on Sino-US. relations at St. Johns University in New York, identified Franklin's thirteen virtues as derived from "the Morals of Confucius," the first English-language translation for the Analects by Confucius. (See his book, page 50.)
Who is Dr. Patrick Mendis? In case you don't know who he is, I quoted from the wikipedia in the following: "Patrick Mendis is an educator, diplomat, author, and executive in government service in the United States. He taught MBA/MPA as well as international trade and American foreign policy courses at the University of Minnesota, University of Maryland, and Yale University before joining the U.S. Department of State, where he served under Secretary Madeleine Albright and General Colin Powell.
For his leadership, Mendis was honored with the State Department's Meritorious Honor Award and the Benjamin Franklin Award. Secretary Hillary Clinton has appointed Professor Mendis as a commissioner to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO." More information on him is available from this link.
Friday, January 3, 2014
This is the brief report on my speech in one of Japan's main universities three years ago. The reason I post it again is that one of the main Asian study Journals in Japan the published my speech manuscript. I just find it on the web and list here for your reference.
You can find and print it from this link. 2010年6月19日（土）AJフォーラム19 "From Confucius to the Great Wall: Chinese Cultural Influence on Colonial North America"「孔子から長城まで：独立前の北米への中国文化の影響」を行いました。 日時：2010年6月19日(土） 15:00～17:00 講師：Dr. Dave Wang (クイーンズ図書館ホリス地区館長、セント・ジョーンズ大学非常勤講師、吉林師範大学客員教授) Date 19th, June, 2010 SAT 15:00～17:00 Lecturer Dr. Dave Wang (Manager, Queens Library at Hollis, Adjunct Professor, St. Johns University, Guest Professor, Jilin Normal University) 当日は教員、学生など約20名の方にご参加いただきました。 どうもありがとうございました。 Staff and students, about 20, had attended the forum. Thank you very much. 講演内容PDF
Since the early 1700's, tea had been used as a social beverage in the colonies. Judge Samuel Sewall had a good record of Boston life in the turn of the 17th century. The guests enjoyed tea in a meeting at the residence of Madam Winthrope, he wrote on April 15, 1709.
According to Peter Kalm, who toured North America in the mid-18th century, tea had not only replaced milk as a breakfast beverage, but also was drunk in the afternoon. From the letter that Ms. Alice Addertoungue wrote to Benjamin Franklin in 1732, we can tell that tea was widely used in social gatherings. Alice told Franklin, “The first Day of this Separation (with her mother—writer) we both drank Tea at the same Time, but she with her Visitors in the Parlor.”
During the tea hour, social and economic affairs were discussed. Interestingly, since teatime provided an ideal opportunity to get acquainted, young men and women enjoyed it very much. Tea had become the excuse for many a social gathering. Being invited to drink tea became a special thing for the colonists. Benjamin Franklin wrote a note showing his appreciation for Mr. Fisher’s “Company to drink Tea at 5 o’clock this afternoon, June 4, 1745.”