The US played an important role in influencing the founding father of the Republic of China (ROC) and his political ideals, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said in a speech yesterday at the opening of an exhibition to celebrate both US Independence Day and the ROC centennial.
The exhibition, titled “Dr Sun Yat-sen [孫逸仙] and the United States,” features photographs and historical documents, including Sun’s Hawaiian birth certificate, that have never been displayed before, said the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the event organizer.
Ma said that Sun, when he drafted his political philosophy, was deeply inspired by Henry George, a renowned US political writer of the 19th century, as well as the US’ Civil War-era president Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address of 1863.
It is unprecedented for a country to adopt the political ideas of foreign leaders and prioritize them in its Constitution, Ma said, adding that ROC-US relations were of -historical importance.
AIT Director William Stanton, speaking in Mandarin, said the Three Principles of the People, a political philosophy proposed by Sun, was developed on the basis of Lincoln’s ideal government, one that is of the people, by the people and for the people.
Sun’s pursuit of freedom, democracy and better lives for his people are based on the same values that informed the founding spirit of the US, Stanton said.
Citing newspaper reports on demonstrations in the Middle East, he urged citizens of both countries to treasure their hard-won freedoms.
The exhibition, which runs through July 30, is taking place at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei.