Saturday, December 31, 2016

480. Borrowing Positive Elements from Chinese Culture


As we approach the new year, I want to take a moment to reflect upon 2016. In Chinese, the phonetic pronunciation of "2017" can be slightly tweaked to mean "go forward together." I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for my readers all across the world. All research needs readers--without readers, any research would be meaningless. The growth of my readers over the years indicates that there is increasing interest in how Chinese culture influenced the development of the United States. Today, the bilateral relationship between the United States and China is one of the most important in the world. If history can be a teacher, I predict that the United States will continue to benefit from borrowing positive elements from Chinese culture, as did the Founding Fathers in centuries prior.

In 2016, Dr. Dave Wang published the paper, Ideas from the East: American Founders and Chinese Wisdom, (www.virginiareviewofasianstudies.com/.../v18_12.-Wang-Chinese-and-Founders.doc)











Sunday, December 4, 2016

479. The Traditional Tea Becomes Popular Again


Who said that academic research focusing on history has no relationship with current economic development?  This report may help change your way of thinking. In one of the oldest continuous newspaper of the nation, The Post and Courier, winner of Pulitzer Prize, Jon Strother wrote a special report on May 26, 215. It is titled "Steeped in the Past,"

In colonial era, Chinese tea, such as Bohea, Congou, Singlo, Hyson, Souchong were popular among the colonists. Jon made it clearly, "in truth, they are the names of teas once popular in early America that have faded into relative obscurity." However, those teas and the stories behind them have been started to be alive because the research done by scholars. Jon reported, according to Dr. Dave Wang in an article for the 2011 Virginia Review of Asian Studies about China's cultural influence on the United States, "The Chinese American tea trade increased steadily after 1785. With the increase of population and wealth, the American people demanded larger and larger quantities of tea. " 



The scholar's research has also helped business men to promote and develop their businesses related to traditional culture. I hope that Kyle Brown, the founder and owner of local tea purveyor Oliver Pluff & Company, will flush over the country. 





Sunday, November 20, 2016

478. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Confucius


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and Thomas Paine (1737-1809) were the two founders that pointed out the importance of morals during the inception of the United States. In 1778, two years after American colonists declared their independence, Franklin emphasized the significance of morality. He pointed out the necessity of governing with morality, especially for the leaders of the United States. He told fellow Americans that laws were not enough for the new nation. He used his experiences to advice Americans on the importance of virtues. Franklin raised the question, “What can laws do without morals?” He clearly expressed that he believed, without morals, the human society “will in a course of minutes become corrupt like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched.”[1]   

Thomas Paine believed that Confucian morals were necessary for politicians in their political debate. He raised Confucius’ virtual principles during his political polemic with the federalists. To support his argument against the federalists, Thomas Paine quoted Confucian moral principles to criticize their moral faults. He told these federalists to follow Confucian teachings so they could be worthy to argue with: “I recommend to them the observance of a commandment” regulated by Confucius, “that existed before either Christian or Jew existed.”  He then listed Confucius principles “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.”[2]



[1] Benjamin Franklin, To Madame Brillon: “The Ephemera” AL (draft): Cornell University Library; French translations: American Philosophical Society (three), Bibliothèque de la Société Eduenne, Autun, Institut de France; copy or transcript: Yale University Library; incomplete copy: Huntington Library.
[2] Thomas Paine in 1802? ,  The Political Works of Thomas Paine, 2 vols.,  [in 9 pt.], Oxford University, 1864, p.15. Paine quoted from Confucius’ following teaching maxims to Yan Yuan, one of his well-known students: "Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety." (Section 12 of  the Analects).

Friday, November 4, 2016

477. Korean Scholar Cited Dr. Dave Wang's Paper

  
In the recent “Korean Journal of Medical History” ,( Vol. 25, August 2016) published by The Korean Society for the History of Medicine, Ms. Sul Heasim published the article, "The Perception of Ginseng in England and America,1600-1800. " Sul works at Department of History, Yensei University, Seoul, Korea.
In the article, the author discusses serious imbalances in the research on ginseng.  The author found that Ginseng was widely discussed in England and America in the early modern period: " the discussion encompassed not only botanical and medical interests, but also discourses on the commercial marketability of ginseng.” (The author’s EMail: snowlove@yonsei.ac.kr)
What attracted my eyes was that the author cited 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 (2011), pp. 143-157.
This finding adds one more country on the list of showing that Dr. Dave Wang’ s academic papers were cited by scholars in their research.

Friday, October 7, 2016

476. The First US President Who Spoke Chinese


My readers might have noticed that the main founders of the United States loved China and its culture. They borrowed from China industrial technologies and agricultural plants to improve the society of North America. For them,  Chinese civilization was so charming and attractive that some of them event tried to learn Chinese.  With this post I would like to introduce you the first US president who spoke Chinese.

The 31st president Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was the first president who could speak fluent Chinese. It seems that he was born with some bonds with China. He was born in WestBranch, Iowa on August 10, 1874. It was the ninety years’ anniversary of the successful sail of the Empress of China, the first US commercial ship reached China's shore in August 1784.


Lou Henry, Hoover's wife and Hoover learned Chinese while they worked in China in the early 20th century. Some records show that they spoke Chinese at the White House when they prevented people from hearing what they talked about.  (David King, Herbert Hoover, Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, ISBN 0-7614-3626-X). 

In the early years of the 20th century Hoover worked as an engineer in Kaiping Mine, Hebei Province of China. Chinese characters on the picture read "Kaiping Mine." 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

475. Influence of Chinese Civilization on the Founders of the United States: Hawaii's Promotion of Dr. Dave Wang's Reserach



China's history is one of a proud, mysterious and ancient civilization. Over the past 150 years this nation's history has been marked by war, turmoil, famine, a decadent imperial ruling site, foreign conquerors, native warlords, a feudal past that has quickly transformed itself into a modern, global society. 

Among the historical mysteries of China something few on either side of the Pacific Ocean have realized until recently: the influence of Chinese civilization on the Founder of the United States of America in the 1700's. 

Dr. Dave Wang set out to explore and share his discoveries though his blog site The Founding Fathers and Chinese Civilization

His blog site explores "the cultural influence of traditional Chinese civilization on colonial North American and the early development of the United States." 

In 2012 Dr. Wang joined the Board of Directors of History Education Hawaii, Inc. 
 
Dr. Wang's pioneering research has earned him a distinguished international reputation. Selected published papers have been translated into international languages including Italian and Chinese. He is often invited to present his research findings to audiences around the world. 

"Certain Chinese products, such as tea, had become deeply involved in the colonies and became an indispensable element of colonists’ daily life. The British control of tea and the colonists’ struggle against this control changed the historical course of the colonies. The tax on tea and the resentment with the tea monopoly by the East Indian Company was one of the factors that led the colonists to rebel. Immediately before the successful 1784 sailing of the Empress of China, the first American commercial ship to reach China, the President of Yale College told George Washington, "Navigation will carry the America 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 and the Yang-ti-king; and with commerce will import the wisdom and literature of the East."  



474. Dr. Dave Wang's Findings Have Attracted Tremendous Attention


Dr. Dave Wang’s findings in the subject of the United Statesfounding fathers and Chinese Civilization have attracted tremendous attention in the academic world. Since 2007 Dr. Wang’s publications on traditionalChinese civilization and the United States have been recommended by the HistoryEducation Counsel of Hawaii State to be used as teaching texts in American History classrooms. This significant and clear endorsement indicates that his research has contributed to the education of younger generation in their studies of American history. In the following, you will find the statement from Mr. Jeffrey Mead, the President of History Education Counsel of Hawaii, allied with the National History Education Counsel: "Dr. Wang's research and publications are recommended for Hawaii's history classrooms and for historians and history buffs in general. His insights on Chinese influences on the Founding Fathers of the United States should spark curiosity and discussion.”



Thursday, September 15, 2016

473. A Gentleman Should Use His Talents to Serve the Community



Alexis de Tocqueville was famously struck by the American way of joining together to help the community. This communal tradition of the United States was promoted by the founders in the founding era. Confucian moral philosophy helped the founders nurture a tradition of community service.  

Confucius taught rulers to be virtuous and formulated a series of ethical principles for leaders of the state. Therefore, a very important part of Confucianism is personal and virtuous cultivation. Confucius requested leaders to be gentlemen who should always claim moral leadership to exercise proper influences in order to put society in good order. Following Confucius moral principles, in traditional Chinese society gentlemen with good virtue always served the community with their talents and resources. They devoted their attention to local welfare institutions, such as educational promotion. According to Confucius, Gentlemen “always claimed moral leadership to exercise proper influences was necessary to put the country in good order.” They “devoted attention to local welfare institutions,” such as educational promotion. They “printed their rhymed quotations for effective communications to the less educated as rhymes were easy for them to learn.”

From Benjamin Franklin we find all of the characteristics of a gentleman, as required by Confucius. Franklin accumulated wealth in his middle age. Then, he gradually retired from business. He “remade himself” as “a public-spirited gentleman.”  He donated his time and energy to public affairs and welfare. During the period from the 1730s to the 1740s, Franklin helped to found some cultural and philanthropic institutions, including the Library Company, the American PhilosophicalSociety, the Public Academy of Philadelphia (the University of Pennsylvania)and a network of volunteer fire companies. In his popular weekly newspaper, Pennsylvania Gazette, Franklin often published some rhymed quotations for his readers. Most impressively, in 1737, he published Confucius moral works in the same newspaper.  

Benjamin Franklin’s contribution to America’s communal tradition has become a valuable legacy. His hard work had helped produce the phenomenon discovered by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1803 Americans were very good at “subordinating their individualism to voluntary groups of one type or another." The later history tells that Franklin’s service to the community has become a particular United States tradition.



Saturday, August 27, 2016

472. Samuel Huntington and Confucian Culture




For Samuel Huntington, China's resistance to Western supremacy stems from its Confucian values, which emphasize the importance of hierarchy, authority, consensus and the state's dominion over society and which clash with American beliefs of liberty, equality, democracy and individualism.


We cannot agree with Mr. Huntington's argument that Confucianism is what has created friction between China and the United States; trade and economic patterns have. 

Clearly enough, Samuel Huntington didn’t have any clue about the United States founders’ borrowing from Confucian moral philosophy when they unfold the history of the United States and worked hard to lay down cultural foundation for this new nation. Dr. Dave Wang's paper, Confucius in American Founding, reveals how the founders used Confucian moral philosophy to bring up new virtue for the new nation. 


Saturday, August 20, 2016

471 Great Wall, Benjamin Franklin, Matt Damon and Yimou Zhang


The upcoming movie, Great Wall has become a hot topic before its being released in the end of this year and early next year. The movie was directed by Zhang Yimou, written by Tony Gilroy, Carlo Bernard, DougMiro, Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz. The movie is an American-Chinese 3D epic science fantasy monster-adventure action film. The film main star is Matt Damon.

The Great Wall has been regarded a symbol of China. It began to form as early as 7th century BC. However, it was Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China, who connected several walls into a big wall during his reign 220-206 BC.  The purpose of the wall was to protect the Chinese from the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups from the north. 
But since the film’s trailer was released, journalists and commentators have criticized it for “whitewashing” — casting white actors in roles that could or should be cast with nonwhites. Why is Matt Damon saving ancient China, anyway? Couldn’t the Chinese handle it themselves?  (Please read "Movies: The real reason Matt Damon had to save ancient China." from Daily Tribune.)
Constance Wu, a star in Fresh Off The Boat, a well-known US comedy series, posted on Twitter several weeks ago: "We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that a only (sic) white man can save the world." Below you can read the snapshot from her twitter.
 
 
 
 
Soon after Constance's remark,  Zhang Yimou replied to Ms. Wu, "Our film is not about the construction of the Great Wall. Matt Damon is not playing a role that was originally conceived for a Chinese actor. The arrival of his character in our story is an important plot point." (Please read "Chinese director defends casting of Matt Damon in film The Great Wall" )
I have no interest in involving myself in the debate. However, Mr. Zhang's mention of "the construction of the Great Wall" reminds me of Benjamin Franklin's recommendation of a Great Wall in North American colonies.

It is very interesting that an American actor played the main role in the movie related to the Great Wall in 2016. Back to 260 years ago, in 1756, Franklin, one of the main founders of the United States, loved the Great Wall so much that he recommended one to be built in the blue mountains to the south of Philadelphia. Actually, Franklin personally involved in construction of forts in the blue mountains. Dr. Dave Wang went to look for tangible relics of Franklin's forts several years ago. Based on his findings there and historical documents, he wrote a paper, which was published by Virginia Review of Asian Studies in 2015.  Below you can find the first two paragraphs: 
 
 
 
 

Friday, August 12, 2016

470. Ideas from the East: American Founders and Chinese Wisdoms



When the Empress of China, the first commercial ship of the United States, anchored the Chinese shore in August 1784, the Chinese merchants quickly realized that the crew members were not British. The crew members were, in fact, Americans from the newly established United StatesChina’s newest trading partner. By sea the journey had taken over half a year. For the United States, China was still a far-away land. 

Yet in spite of the great distance between these two nations, Chinese culture strongly influenced the fledgling United States. Five years ago Virginian Review of Asian Studies published my study of China’s tangible cultural influence on the United States[1]

It has been noted that America’s founders loved particular Chinese ideas and used them help their efforts to build a new nation in North America around the founding era. In this essay, I will introduce the particular Chinese ideas that were introduced to America as they laid the philosophical and cultural foundation of the United States.



[1] Dave Wang, Chinese Civilization and the United States: Tea, Ginseng, Porcelain ware and Silk in Colonial America,  Virginia Review of Asian Studies, 2011.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

469. America's 240th Independence Day-and the Chinese Connection


Through Dr. Dave Wang's pioneer research we have learned that Chinese civilization had its influence on American founding. In the following I introduce the short essay written by JeffreyBingham Mead, the host of Marvels of China:

July 4, 2016 marked the 240th Independence Day of the United States of America. This is a good day to remind ourselves that the connection between the USA and Chinesecivilization has been in existence almost since the beginning of the United States

The U.S. Founders and China blog site by Dr. Dave Wang features a treasure-trove of little-known facts that Dr. Wang has been researching, publishing and lecturing about for many years. 


On this day Dr. Wang has published Confucian Virtue and the Founding of the United States. Click here to read it.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

468. Benjamin Franklin: The First Publisher of Confucius Work



Confucius statues have been seen  probably all over the United States today. In addition to the Supreme Court building, one can find many Confucius statues in many places. There is a Confucius statue in a park, called Chinese Cultural Garden in Cleveland. The Cleveland Public Library invited me to deliver a lecture on Chinese cultural influence on North America several years ago. After my presentation, Carolyn, the librarian,  guided me to the Chinese Cultural Garden to visit the Statue of Confucius in the garden. However I didn't see the stature, for it was covered and was under repair. The City of Cleveland made it a big event when the repair was completed and Confucius statue was reinstalled in the Garden. One still can find the article of reporting the event. The event took place on October 3, 2014. More information regarding the event can be accessed through this article,  Confucius returns to his place in Cleveland's Chinese Cultural Garden.

However, I was attracted by the Statue of Benjamin Franklin on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on July 29, 2016. The statue captures the historical moment when Franklin was reading his own weekly newspaper, Pennsylvania Gazette. My readers who are familiar with Dr. Dave Wang's work know that Franklin published some chapters of Confucius work in his widely welcomed newspaper in Pennsylvania and other colonies in North America in 1737. Below you can tell that I was trying to find out what Franklin was reading, chapters of Confucian moral philosophy or his own works enlightened by Confucius moral principles? I am sure that you will find the answer on your own as soon as you see the statue in person.






Monday, July 18, 2016

467. Dr. Alfred Hornung Uses Dr. Dave Wang's Paper as Text in his Cultural Course


Once a while we found that Dr. Dave Wang's papers in the field of traditional Chinese civilization's influence on the founders of the United States have been used as teaching text. A friend of mine sent me several pictures of showing that Dr. Wang's paper, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States is used as text in a graduate course. I have no idea where this course is taught. However, I have some basic information on the course. The course is named as ChiAmeica: Stages of Transcultural Encounters and is taught by University Professor Afred Hornung from Johannes Gentenberg University, in Mainz, Germany. Professor Hornung is a well-known specialist on American culture.  According to the introduction from the University, Professor Hornung is a "specialist in American literatures and cultures from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First century and a leading scholar in all areas of life writing. As a long-time editor of the journal Amerikastudien / American Studies, as president of the German Association for American Studies DGfA and of MESEA Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas, as a member of the International Committee of the American Studies Association he participated in shaping the transatlantic and transnational fields of American Studies."  It is very impressive that Dr. Wang's paper has been selected by such a prestigious professor as teaching text.

More information on the course he is teaching you can find from the picture below:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

466. China's Cultural Impact on the World Stopped at the Water Edge?


In his article, Looking at China's past to understand its future,  Mr. Cliff Stearns,  the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 6th Congressional District from 1989 to 2013,  and President of the United States Association of Former Members of Congress, pointed out that China's cultural impact on other countries often stopped at the water edge.  No doubt, Cliff hasn't read Dr. Dave Wang's papers on Chinese cultural influence on colonial North America and the founders efforts to borrow from Chinese culture in their efforts to build a new country in North America. In deed, from the Great Wall to Confucius, the founders used many positive Chinese culture elements to help with their endeavor to lead Americans to start an uncharted journey in North America. From the image you can tell the speech, Dr. Dave Wang made in Japan in 2010.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

465. Confucian Ideas Lifted Americans From Corruption




In today's New York Times, July 12, 2016, David Brooks published his OP-ED article, Is the U.S. On the Path to Ruin. He provided a very clear historical picture on the political crisis generated by moral corruption in the federal governments in the 1880s and the 1890s. According to him, in the periods, “America faced crises as deep as the ones we face today …The political system was worse and more corrupt than ours is today. Culturally things were bad, too. Racism and anti-immigrant feelings were at plaguelike levels.” 

In order to change it, “America responded.”David listed some specific measures to show how Americans stood up to meet the challenges. However, he missed the most important American response to fight against the contagious corruption. At this critical conjuncture, the American leaders adopted Chinese civil service examination system based on Confucian ideas. Under the help of Chinese civil service Examination system the Americans lifted Americans out of notorious corruption that tortured the whole nation. Both the inheritance systems in the colonies overthrew by the American Revolution and the Spoil System started by Thomas Jefferson Administration were replaced with the merit system. As a result, corruptions was greatly reduced.

 
According to Confucius, governing authority should be based on merit, and not inherited status. The public service positions should be given to those who passed the imperial examinations. The Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), which established Confucianism as its official philosophy installed the meritocracy as its governmental system to select officials in the second century BC. The Han Dynasty began choosing public service official based on civil service exams for the first time in the world.



Saturday, July 9, 2016

464 Confucianism and the Origin of American Democratic System


It is widely recognized that throughout Chinese history, Confucianism was employed in the service of authoritarian system. Democracy was not a part of the Confucian tradition. However, some scholars made their efforts to argue that Confucian tradition was consistent with democracy. They have proved their opinion by arguing that humaneness  (仁)or benevolence, the core of Confucian thought, was used as a Confucian standard to judge authoritarian politics. If a ruler failed in his responsibilities to be a good ruler, he should be removed, and a good ruler installed.


However, this is not Dr. Dave Wang's argument on relationship between American Democracy and Confucianism. Confucianism indeed made contribution to the origin of American democratic system. In the founders eyes, Confucian moral philosophy was valuable for their efforts to enhance the virtue of the leaders. For the founders, to keep leaders with good virtue was the key to success of a democratic system. Therefore, Confucianism was involved the founding the the democratic institution in the founding era of the United States.

"If we want to grow in virtue, and experience a healthier, more productive political environment, each of us must demand more virtue." (Arthur C. Brooks, The Trick to Being More Virtuous, The New York Times, November 28, 2014.) This was exactly the situation that the founders were facing when they called upon Confucius moral principles to be employed to advance American virtues.
The picture shows Professor Krill Thompson's article, Traditional Chinese Concepts and 17th-18th Century Enlightenment Ideals: Reflections on the IHS Conference on Freedom, Equality, Democracy, and the Rise of Market Economy, October 2015

Monday, July 4, 2016

463. Confucian Virtue and the Founding of the United States


Today, we celebrate American Independence Day.  We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. 

In celebrating the National Day, I feel that the Americans should thank Confucianism. Why so? Confucian moral philosophy had influenced the founders when unfolding the blueprint of this 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. With this notion in mind, the founders turned to Confucian moral philosophy. 




Saturday, July 2, 2016

462. Chinese Culture Helpd American Founding


We all know the historical fact that Chinese tea helped trigger the American Revolution. On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty, disguised as Native Americans dumped into the Boston Harbor the tea from Fujian Province of China. The British government took action to protect the interests of the East Indian Company. The event led to the American Revolution.   

Thank to Dr. Dave Wang's research, we have learned that Chinese culture also helped the founding of the United States. During the founding era 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.”[1]  Dr. Dave Wang's 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.



[1] Joseph J. Ellis, American Creation: Triumph and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic, Alfred Knoopf, a Division of Random House, New York, 2007, p.3.

Monday, June 27, 2016

461. Capacity to Accept Other Cultures Makes Better Diplomacy



We send our congratulations to Dr. Dave Wang, professor at St. John's University in New York and the historian behind The U.S. Founders and China blog site.

Word reached us that two essays by Dr. Wang have been published in the Virginia Review of Asian Studies (Volume 18, 2016): -Ideas from the East: American Founders and Chinese Wisdom.
...
-The Capacity to Accept Other Cultures Makes Better Diplomacy: Dr. Wilton Dillon's Support of My Research on the U.S. Founders and China.

The Virginia Review of Asian Studies (VRAS) is an annual online publication of the Virginia Consortium of Asian Studies (VCAS) and the Department of Asian Studies at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia.

 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

460. Confucius, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Leading by Morals



Confucius maintained that the masses should be led by leaders who governed through their virtue rather than through 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.

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine were the two founders that pointed out the importance of morals during the inception of the United States. In 1778, two years after American colonists declared their independence, Franklin emphasized the significance of morality. He pointed out the necessity of governing with morality, especially for the leaders of the United States. He told fellow Americans that laws were not enough for the new nation. He used his experiences to advice Americans on the importance of virtues. Franklin raised the question, “What can laws do without morals?” He clearly expressed that he believed, without morals, the human society “will in a course of minutes become corrupt like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched.”

Thomas Paine believed that Confucian morals were necessary for politicians in their political debate. He raised Confucius’ virtual principles during his political polemic with the federalists. To support his argument against the federalists, Thomas Paine quoted Confucian moral principles to criticize their moral faults. He told these federalists to follow Confucian teachings so they could be worthy to argue with: “I recommend to them the observance of a commandment” regulated by Confucius, “that existed before either Christian or Jew existed.”  He then listed Confucius principles “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.”


Monday, June 20, 2016

459. The Consistency between Confucius Moral Philosophy and the Founder's Insistence on the Nececcity of a Moral Citizenry


I usually delete all spam emails. However, today I accidently found an email notifying me that my paper has stimulated discussion in his group of studying Confucianism. I am very happy to find some posts from the discussion. I quote one of the posts here below. I am sure that my readers would like to read it .
 
"Absolutely fascinating. Wang does a good job of demonstrating the consistency between Ruist self-cultivation and the founders' insistence on the necessity of a moral citizenry. The evidence of the founders' reverence for Confucius will be a great help in promoting Ruism in the U.S.

It would be very interesting if Wang explored the tension between the idea of Confucian moral leadership ("Confucius taught that a perfect leader could create a perfect world through moral strength and example") and the founders' insistence on restricting the powers of political leaders. Jefferson, for example, said, "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

On one hand, the founders placed a great deal of emphasis on moral self-cultivation of the people. But they also placed a great deal of emphasis on restraining the powers of government under the rule of law and "checks and balances" because they believed that men couldn't really be trusted to wield too much power."


Thank you, Ben Butina, great points.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

458. Dr. Dillon's Solution to Dr. Samuel Huntington’s Warning on Conflicts amongst Nations



As a cultural anthropologist, Dr. Dillon understood the significance of mutual cultural acceptance in the development of human history. In his book, SmithsonianStories: Chronicle of a Golden Age, 1964-1984, he emphasized the importance of learning from other cultures. This book is widely regarded as one of the most important books on the cultural history of the United States. In this work, Dr. Dillon proposed a solution to Dr. Samuel Huntington’s warnings of increasing conflicts amongst nations: as Dr. Dillon stated, “Celebrating one nation’s cultural gifts to another—and especially, the capacity to receive—makes for good diplomacy.” Dr. Dillon suggested that by embracing positive elements from foreign cultures, just as the Founding Fathers adopted Confucian moral philosophies and other Chinese ideas, world leaders could create a better world ahead. With the continuous globalization of human society, Dr. Dillon’s proposal of the capacity to receive other cultural influences will become increasingly relevant in an increasingly multicultural world.

The above is from Dr. Dave Wang's Article,
The Capacity to Accept Other Cultures Makes Better Diplomacy: Dr. Wilton Dillon’s Support of My Research on the US Founders and China, in Virginia Review of Asian Studies, Volume 18, 2016.



Monday, June 13, 2016

457. Jeffrey Bingham Mead, Host, Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim


The following is from the Weblog : Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim


Word reached me that Dr. Dave Wang, one of our previous guests on Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim, was a featured speaker at the Translation and Transmission in the Early Americas: The Fourth Early Americanist Summit held at the University of Maryland on June 5, 2016. 

Dr. Wang is internationally famous for his research, publications and lectures worldwide on the influence of Chinese civilization on the American Founders in the eighteenth century. Go to his blog to learn more. 
 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

456. 美国华裔教授专家网转载《桥报》报道



华裔教授专家网 Chinese American Professors and Professional News Network 转载了关于王小良博士的报道。

美国华裔教授專家网(简称Scholars Net)是一个非政治的跨学科高层次人才组织,成立于1991年。现有成员16,000余人,分布在中国及世界各地,大部份居住在美国。以博、硕士以上学位的学者、专业人士和教科研及政府部门精英为主。十余年来一直以发放电子周刊《即时通讯》为主要联络方式,并积极宣传、策划、组织和参与美中科技、教育、文化交流活动,安排大陆港台高等学府代表团访美交流,选送专家教授代表团赴中国讲学,组织庞大留学人员代表团出席广州留交会(1998-2009),为2010年世博会在美国组织数千人签名造势活动,及时发放美中高校、科教研专业组织及政府讯息。这是一个集纳海内外高层次精英人才的团体,一个提供留学人员资讯最快的平台,一个永不关闭的电子交流联络系统,一个服务高级知识分子和专业人士的通讯工具,也是一座沟通海内高科技、高等教育和人才合作的桥梁。


Saturday, June 11, 2016

455. Translating and Transmitting Chinese Culture in the Early Americas

 


For the very first time, in the history of early American studies, the program: Translating Asia in the Early Americas and the EarlyModern Atlantic World was conducted in the University of Maryland on June 5, 2016. It was one of the various programs at Translation and Transmission in the Early Americas: The Fourth Early Americanist ‘Summit’.

This historical moment was recorded in the picture below. With this post I show you the scholars who made the program happen. From the left to the Right, Dr. Dave Wang, (Queens Library at Laurelton), Wisdom from the East: The American Founding and its Founders’ Efforts to Draw Intelligence from Chinese Civilization,  Juan Velasco (Santa Clara University), From Asia to the Americas: Acts of Translation in Eighteenth-Century Jesuit Writings, Michelle Burnham (Santa Clara University) co-presenter with Dr. Velasco, Nancy E. Hoffmann (Villanova University), John Bartram’s Essay on Confucius (n.d.), Sara E. Johnson (University of California, San Diego), La retraite chinoise: A Material and Print Culture History of a Colonialist Outpost in1790s Philadelphia and Chair: Eyda Merediz (University of Maryland) served as the chair of the program. I was impressed by her thorough research on presenters' academic background.



The credit should be also given to the summit committee, including Dr. Ralph Bauer (University of Maryland) , Dr. Allison Bigelow (University of Virginia) , Dr. Alejandra Dubcovsky (Yale University) Dr. Patrick Erben (University of West Georgia) , Dr. Carlos Jáuregui (University of Notre Dame) and Dr. Luis Fernando Restrepo (University of Arkansas)

The Summit was co-sponsored by the Society of Early Americanists (SEA), the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture (OIEAHC), the Kislak Family Foundation, the Buckner W. Clay Endowment at the University of Virginia Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, the Mexican Cultural Institute, and the University of Maryland.
 

 

454. 王小良早期美国峰会抛新观点


【侨报记者管黎明6月9日纽约报道】长期致力于早期中美历史研究的纽约华人学者、公共图书馆Laurelton分馆馆长王小良本周出席第四届“早期美国”峰会,就早期美国引进中国文官考试制度的历史发表演讲。这是首次有美国学术会议对中华文明对美国的影响进行专题讨论。

  王小良表示,过去十多年来,从最初他的论文被选用为高中生和研究生的历史教材,到现在成为美国学术会议的正式讨论专题,这是中华文明对美国早期发展影响之历史研究领域的又一个里程碑。


  王小良在此次峰会期间探讨了美国是如何以中国的“以试取士”制度来完善美国的民主制度。他表示,在引进中国的文官考试制度前,美国实行的是“奖赏制度”(Spoil system),即官员把政府中的重要职位分给在选举中为自己获胜做出贡献的人。这一制度始于美国开国元勋之一的托马斯·杰裴逊(1743-1826)。杰裴逊痛恨以血缘关系来决定政府官员的封建世袭制度,而美国革命的胜利,尤其是在1800年总统选举中的胜利,使得杰裴逊有机会来改革这一制度。于是他采用了“奖赏”制度,把政府中的重要职位分给在选举中为自己获胜做出贡献的人,这一做法就这样延续下来。从血缘决定论到奖赏制度,无疑是历史的进步。
  但是,王小良表示,随着历史的发展,奖赏制度的弊病也显现出来。它没有实现把机会公平分给每一个公民的建国宗旨,而是偏向于自己的支持者。该制度引发的不满也导致严重的社会问题,甚至于造成第20届美国总统詹姆斯·伽费尔德 (James Garfield 1831-1881)被一个未得到政府工作职位的支持者刺杀。痛定思痛,血的教训促使美国政府下决心改革奖赏制度,采取中国的按照孔子“学而优则士”的思想建立的录取公务员的制度。

 熟悉王小良研究工作的加州大学圣地亚哥分校的Sara Johnson教授、加州Santa Clara大学的Michelle Burnham,以及Juan Velasco教授、来自Villanova大学的Nancy Hoffman教授等学者也一起出席会议,共同探讨古代中国文明对美国殖民地的影响,包括18世纪耶稣会传教过程中对中华经典的翻译,1790年代在费城流传的中国瓷器和中国典籍翻译,以及John Bartram(1699-1777)关于孔子的论文等等。

  本届早期美国峰会也就殖民地时期美国社会对外国文学和文化的翻译及传播进行了广泛讨论。峰会由“早期美国学会“(Society of Early Americanists)奥马翰祚美国早期历史文化研究院(Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture),弗吉尼亚大学人文和全球文化研究院,以及马里兰大学等联合组织举办。

Saturday, May 28, 2016

453. Cross-Cultural Understanding between China and the United States



For many Americans, China, the second largest economy in the world, is a little bit scary. China is not only America’s fastest growing trade partner, but also a nuclear power. With a huge population and a very different history and culture, it is, to state the obvious, the definition of “foreign.”
Carola McGiffert, President of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, stated, " Cross-cultural understanding between our two nations is critical if we are to work together to solve our greatest shared challenges. The more we know about China, the more we will appreciate its perspective, its politics and its people."

She called upon, "We must expose more American youth to Chinese language and study abroad opportunities. Our two nations and our world depend on it."  To add to the list, I think that all Americans schools should teach about the history of the efforts of the founders to borrow from Chinese civilization in their endeavor to create a new culture in the United States. In this point I agree with Mr. Jeffrey Bingham Mead, the President of History Education Council of Hawaii States. He requested al schools in Hawaii State to teach Dr. Dave Wang's research in their history classrooms.
I would like to quote the following statement from Mr. Mead, “We'd like to call to your attention the pioneering research and writings of History Education Hawaii director, Dr. Dave Wang. His research has opened fresh eyes to something long neglected in the founding of the United States of America: the influence of Chinese civilization on the American Founders. " He also states, "Dr. Wang’s research and scholarship have added a new and exciting illuminations into the founding of the United States of America, the influence of China’s civilization and traditions on the founders. This is something that should be taught in our American and Chinese history courses.”

452. Chinese Cultures and Traditions That Have Been Adapted in The US


It is widely acknowledged that it is practically impossible to pinpoint every single instance of Chinese culture and tradition in the United States. For Joseph Rodriguez, one of the reasons is that “many individuals are practicing their traditions both in public and in their homes with their own family members and friends, and personally, I love it.”
However,  for Dr. Dave Wang, the most important reason is that the founders of this nation assimilated elements of Chinese culture in the culture of the United States. I would like to quote Dr. KirillO. Thompson below,
 "For his part, Jefferson saw the importance of Confucius' virtues for keeping his ideals alive, augmenting happiness, and improving the country over time. In his inaugural speech in 1801, Jefferson declared:
Let us, [……] pursue our republican principles; our [……] representative government. [……] enlightened by a benign religion, [……] inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man, adoring a providence, which by 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? (Italics added)."
Dr. Thompson has further made it clear that all the virtues Jefferson "enumerated in his inauguration speech were precisely the moral principles that Confucius had instructed."