Wednesday, May 10, 2017
494. Confucius Ideas and Thomas Jefferson's Preamble to the Declaration of Independence
Russell Freedman, one of America's premier biographers for young people , wrote the book in 2002, titled Confucius: The Golden Rule Hardcover . In this book Freedman presents his readers the remarkable life and far-reaching influence of Confucius, the famous Chinese philosopher.Confucius had influenced the United States, as we learned from Dr. Dave Wang's research. The influence has been far greater than many people realize in world today. The Jesuit missionaries introduced Confucius and his works to Europe in the 16th century. Some of the them became scholars in the field of China studies and some of them were hired by the Chinese imperial courts. It was in this period of time when the Lun Yu, known in Europe as the Analects of Confucius was translated into Latin.
According to Freedman, European philosophers, statesmen, and writers were surprised by finding that more than 2,000 years earlier, in the “mysterious Orient,” (p.38) Confucius had lectured the "same thoughts " the European thinkers were thinking. The Europeans "were impressed by Confucius’s teachings about the honest use of language, by his attacks on hereditary privilege, and by his ideas concerning good government." (p.40). The Europeans were shocked by the doctrine that "a ruler must have the consent of his people, and if he fails in hisduties, then the people have the moral right of revolution." Confucius' ideas influenced the development of democratic ideals both in Europe and America." People in the world today are able to find Confucius' influence on the founding of the United States by reading Thomas Jefferson’s preamble to the Declaration of Independence: