Sunday, April 30, 2017
492. Thomas Jefferson and the Book of Ode
In the Book of Ode 《诗经》, Confucius claimed that “The former kings are not forgotten because of the great virtue they owned when they led their states. Jefferson drew from the example of Prince Wei in his determination to create a prosperous republican state and preserve his personal legacy. Jefferson believed that a leader should be prepared for meeting demanding, public spirited and morally attuned task. He also believed his own political, moral, and personal values were important to American history. He collected documents, books, newspapers, and other materials so that later historians could reconstruct an accurate representation of his role in The American Revolution.
From the content of the Chinese poem, it is reasonable to say that Jefferson’s inclusion of this specific Chinese poem reveals his admiration of Confucian ideals and his aim to make himself a leader like Prince Wei, which Confucius recommended.