Friday, February 26, 2016

436. Why Do We Study the US Founders and China

What is important about study of the history that the US founders made their efforts to draw positive elements from Chinese civilization?  Why so people need to know all that.

The importance of the history is the importance of understanding the United States. There can be no true understanding of the present with out knowledge of the past. By examining the founders’ attitudes towards and their efforts to borrow from Chinese civilization, we learn how to examine ourselves and move forward. Particularly in a multi-cultural world, the capacity to acceptance of positive elements from foreign cultures will mainly decide a country’s future. The Founders’ great efforts to identify and to use positive elements from traditional Chinese civilization to help build the United States to be a great nation will always enlighten and inspire us. 
So I want you to remember, history of the US Founders and China is not just a bunch of names, such as Confucius, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and others. The history is a main part of the story of how the United States became what it is now.  


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

435. The East Side Story: What the East River Witnesses over 232 Years?

On February 22, 1784, the day when the Empress of China started her maiden sail to China, unfolded the process of the East River being the United States business and financial center. I am not going to talk about the Wall Street and the business center on the west side of the East River.

I will introduce you a town on its East side. Flushing (法拉盛) is a town on the east side of the East River. The revolutionary veterans who opened the trade with China would be surprised at seeing the evolution of Flushing (法拉盛) from a sleepy town to a dynamic center of business in New York. Flushing has become a large commercial and retail center and is the fourth largest central business district in New York City. The intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue is the third busiest intersection in New York City, behind Times and Herald Squares.

Very impressively, Flushing (法拉盛) has developed into one of the largest and fastest growing ethnic Chinese enclaves outside of Asia. Chinese-owned businesses dominate the area along Main Street and the blocks west of it. Consequently, Flushing has grown rapidly enough to become the second-largest Chinatown outside of Asia. In fact, the Flushing may surpass the Chinatown in lower Manhattan on the west side of the East River within a few years.

The picture on the right was taken from a traditional Chinese Pharmacy Store in Flushing (法拉盛) on February 21, 2016. The Chinese loved the Ginseng that carried over by the US founders in 1784. 232 years have passed. Since then the Chinese have used American Ginseng. Today they still love the roots. Is it amazing?

Monday, February 22, 2016

434. From the East River to the Pearl River and the Potomac River

232 years ago, today,  February 22, 1784, the Empress of China, the first United States commercial ship started her journey from the East River, New York.  Carrying the hope of the new nation to break the economic blockade by the British Empire, the most powerful country in the time, through a journey of 18,000 miles, the Empress of China entered the Pearl River and into Guangzhou (Canton) on August 28, 1784, and the United States formally entered the China trade. The trade achieved a great success. The ginsengs were sold out more quickly than the crew member thought. On December 28, 1784, the ship set sail for the United States. After about half year, the ship arrived back in New York on May 11, 1785, filled with tea, silks, porcelain wares and gunpowder. George Washington was pleased by the success of the voyage and Samuel Shaw, the commercial manager of the ship, was appointed as the first American diplomatic representative to China.
New York became the center of the country because of the economic booming stimulated by the trade with China. In order to balance the influence on political power from the economic power generated by the trade, George Washington wanted to build a harbor along the Potomac River for China trade.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

433. David Brooks, Barack Obama and the Founders

I like reading history. I have been attracted by the founders' efforts to borrow from Chinese civilization in the time when they unfold the history of this nation. One of the most important Chinese cultural elements they borrowed is some Confucius moral principles. I say some because that they didn't borrow all teachings of Confucius. They chose to use the Confucius teachings on personal moral cultivation to build new virtue for the citizen of the new country. I don't have to talk about that here. You can read Dr. Dave Wang's paper, Confucius in American Founding.

David Brooks' op-ed article, I Miss Barack Obama, The New York Times, February 9, 2016. caught my eyes several days ago. I have perceived something familiar with my findings in the founders, who urged new Americans to advance their virtue to meet requirements of the new nation. "Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I am beginning to miss."

Obama's following founders' example in virtue building is by no means a matter of coincidence. Like the founders of the United States, President Obama has drawn wisdoms from Chinese classics. In a speech he said, "Thousands of years ago, the great philosopher Mencius said: 'A trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time.' Our task is to forge a path to the future that we seek for our children -- to prevent mistrust or the inevitable differences of the moment from allowing that trail to be blocked by grass; to always be mindful of the journey that we are undertaking together."

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

432. Lao Tzu Philosophy and President Reagan

I am just a little bit curious about the tradition of borrowing from Chinese Civilization. The founders of the United States started the tradition to get enlightenment from the civilization. How about the tradition? Has it been maintained by US presidents in modern time. The answer is big yes. In his 1988 state of union speech, president Ronald Reagan pointed out that his administration used Lao Tzu philosophy as his governing principle. Look at the picture on the left.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

431. Interview: Influences of Chinese Civilization on the U.S. Founders

It is one of the coldest days this winter. However, my readers have been warmed by the interview conducted by Marvels of China, a radio program hosted by Jeffrey Bingham Mead. For any of you who is new to the program. You should read this piece of news carried by Greenwich Free Press.

After the interview, Jeffrey wrote to Dr. Dave Wang, " Thanks, Dave Wang for joining me this morning on Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim on AM 1490 WGCH. Special thanks to my engineer, Tony Savino for keeping everything in good working order.

My morning coffee was nice, too. Among other things, I announced that the show is on the blogosphere at, and you can write to Now it's time to head to the office! Lots of work to do."

Monday, February 8, 2016

430. February is the Most Importance Month In terms of US Trade with China

It is time for us to read Dr. Dave Wang's article, With China We Trade again. It was in February 1784 when the US began to trade with China directly.

There was a great deal of uncertainty in the newly founded country. After the war for independence was over, the nation's fiscal system was on the brink of chaos. Many small farmers, the broad base of the new nation, were being thrown into jail for debt and many others were forced to lose their farms. The Congress, established under the Articles of Confederation, was attempting to bring order out of the turmoil. In Massachusetts, an agrarian revolt spread quickly.

In the meantime, Britain, which lost the war militarily, was seeking to defeat the Americans economically. It strengthened its economic pressure on individual states to compel them, one by one, to return to "Mother England". Britain closed all traditional trade partners to the new nation, and American merchants could no longer trade with Spain, Africa and West Indies. In the aftermath of the victory of the American revolutionary war, France, Holland and other European countries were willing to use the US as their market, but not anxious to take American wares in exchange.

Given the situation, commerce became "the lifeblood of America's recovery from its economic slump". New trade partners had to be discovered, new trade routes had to be opened and new connections had to be established. Otherwise, political independence wouldn't last long. It was in this critical situation that the first American voyage to China started.