Anson Burlingame (蒲安臣) was a unique diplomat in world history.  During his tenure as the U.S.’s Ambassador to China in 1861-1867, and then as China’s Ambassador to the U.S. and Other Foreign Powers in 1867-1870, he led the initiative to change the U.S. foreign policy to China from one based on “unequal treaties” to one based on “equality of nations.”

In light of the fact that in the 21st century, the two most important countries in the world are U.S. and China, it is important to revisit their 19th century relationship and see whether there are lessons that can be learned from the 19th century that can be fruitfully applied in the 21st century.

Burlingame‘s life and that period in history in both the U.S. and China were full of drama and actions.  His life is a historical epic drama that is interspersed with breathtaking actions appeal to Americans and Chinese, as well as people of the rest of the world.  


Mark Twain in 1870 wrote the following obituary for Burlingame“In real greatness, ability, grandeur, and achievement, he stood head and shoulders above all the American of to-day, save one or two.  …  He was a good man, and a very, very good man.  America lost a son, and all the world a servant, when he died.”