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:
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.