Saturday, April 26, 2014
348. Great Wall of China: Benjamin Franklin's Way to Defend the Fledgling United States
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.