Sunday, July 26, 2015
405. Dr. Dave Wang's Works have been Used as High School History Text Book
In his history class, China's Relations with the United States, the Chair of the History Department of the well-known Loomis Chaffee School at Windsor, Connecticut, Robert Andrian used as teaching text book Dr. Dave Wang's works on the Chinese cultural influence on the early development of the United States.
"It should be pointed out that both before and after the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers were attracted to Chinese philosophy, technology and trade. Confucian moral ideals, for example, were respected at a time when leaders in the U.S. were interested in not blindly following in Europe's footsteps. Thomas Jefferson expressed "the desirability of Chinese isolation and of the need to place an ocean of fire between us and the old world." (Dr. Dave Wang, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States Education about Asia, Fall, 2011, p.11)
Chinese heating technology influenced Benjamin Franklin and led to the more efficient Pennsylvania Fireplace and ultimately the Franklin stove. Cold winters became less harsh for many. Chinese porcelain was very popular among American well-heeled families, and Benjamin Rush among others, believed that domestic Chinese porcelain manufacturing was a key to national economic self-reliance and overcoming the colonists' dependence on British imports. According to St. John's Professor David Wang, "the American China Manufactory in Philadelphia became noted for its quality, and more importantly, succeeded in cultivating patriotism as it challenged Britain's monopoly of the product and indirectly contributed to the struggle for independence." (Dr. Dave Wang, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States Education about Asia, Fall, 2011, p.8.)
When Franklin found Chinese soybeans, rhubarb seeds and tallow trees in England, he sent them along to the colonies. The tallow trees were useful in making soap and candles among other things. And, as can be seen in the accompanying photo of Monticello, Jefferson incorporated Chinese railings in his architectural design.
The new nation needed to cultivate new trading partners to help propel economic growth. European countries were willing to export to but not import from the U.S. The Empress of China maiden voyage to Canton in 1784 inaugurated a vigorous U.S.-China maritime trade, and was, as Richard Henry Lee put it, "proof of American enterprise, and will probably mortify, as much as it will injure our old oppressor, the British." (Dr. Dave Wang, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States Education about Asia, Fall, 2011, p.9)
Jefferson believed that the China trade could separate the U.S. from Britain. In 1785 two American ships went to China; in 1806, 42 made the voyage. By 1795, the U.S. was ahead of all its European rivals except Britain in terms of volume of trade with China. New York and New England commercial and financial elites began to prosper."