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.