Saturday, July 4, 2015

401.Confucian moral and American Revolution

It is time to celebrate this year's Fourth of July by remembering something forgotten in the fireworks. That was the founders used Confucian moral philosophy to start a new virtue for the new nation.
The victory of the revolution brought freedom to the British colonists in North America. But with this freedom also came greater opportunities to misbehave.  During the late 18th century, moral issues caused by a culture of pleasure and freedom blossomed in American cities. According to some existing historical records, one could find a public place to engage in illicit activities in nearly every block in every 18th-century American city.   Alarmed by those problems and other social issues, the founders reached a consensus that moral construction was not only a necessity in order to make the fruit of the revolution sustainable, but should be considered a priority. The founders believed that only virtuous people could live in a free society. Almost every founding father testified to the link between liberty and virtue. George Washington (1732-1799) told Americans: “It is essentially true that virtue or morality is a main and necessary spring of popular or republican governments.”  Benjamin Rush stated, "Without virtue there can be no liberty."   Benjamin Franklinwarned, “[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”   Thomas Jefferson told his fellow Americans, "A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society."   John Adams told the Americans that while the success of the revolution made the colonies free, “they will not obtain a lasting Liberty” without good virtues.   He continued, "If Virtue & Knowledge are diffused among the People, they will never be enslav'd. This will be their great Security.” It was because of the above understanding the significance of new virtue that Confucius moral philosophy became important to the founders. For more information on how the founders introduced and promoted Confucian moral philosophy, please 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, " Virginia Review of Asian Studies, Vol. 16, 2014.

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