Saturday, April 30, 2016

445. ‧Educated American Colonials and Founders

In the following I provide you with paragraph from National Taiwan University Professor Kirll O. Thompson's convincing article, in which he elaborated Dr. Dave Wang's pioneer research on American founding fathers' borrowing from Chinese civilization in the process of the American founding.

Professor Thompson has realized that , "Many Western intellectual historians of the 17th and 18th centuries only register classical Western sources and discount East Asian sources as too far afield." However in this academic milieu, Dr. Dave Wang opened the new field in the study of the founding of the United States and the founder's efforts to use positive elements from Chinese civilization to build a new nation in North America.

"In several studies, Dave Wang has shown that 18th century American colonials and founders admired Confucius and consciously adopted Confucian values and virtues.[3] The positive reception of Confucius' ideas can be observed vividly in the house of James Madison (1751-1836), where hangs an honored portrait of Confucius. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) saw Confucius as of the same caliber and stature as Jesus and Socrates. Interestingly, Madison and Paine represented two poles in early American politics. To Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Confucius' ethics was valuable to the human being in general. And, Thomas Jefferson promoted Confucius' moral principles in his inaugural speech in 1801. In his personal notebook, Jefferson included a poem about an ideal Chinese prince that was selected by Confucius (Great Learning; Daxue 大學, ch. 3). John Adams (1735-1826) and Benjamin Rush (1746-1813) also honored Confucius in their making a blueprint for the new nation.
  Certainly, the founders were concerned about such bottom line issues as taxation without representation, civil liberties, and economic freedom, but they also focused on concerns of public and private morality. For them, the Revolutionary War was as much a fight against the corruption of British high society as it was for politico-economic reasons. The founders wanted new virtues for the new nation to unfold as a healthy democracy, and drew on moral resources from around the world in devising new virtues, including notably Confucian ideals, virtues, and ethical precepts."

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