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The Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Uprising
China during the late nineteenth century was in turmoil from external and internal forces. The underlining internal pressures were exacerbated by the thrust of western imperialism and exploitation. Imperialism and the west were the catalyst for the Boxer Uprising. The ingredients of descent and conflict were always present in the late nineteenth century. China had its difficulties without the wests intrusion. The Boxer Uprising was a reaction against the West, not a rebellion against the Qing Dynasty. The Boxer uprising differs from Taping rebellion in that regard.
In this essay, I will illustrate the slow incremental effects of the Imperialist powers on China. This process gives insight into the origins of the Boxer Uprising. I will also argue, that the way the Chinese government choose to deal with the West compounded its problems. There were major decisions which led to the Boxer Uprising and the demise of an empire. The first decision between gunboat and appeasement in dealing with the west. The second decision was between Chinese culture and western studies. The third major decision between managing western powers and ignoring them. The Chinese leadership made key decisions which led to the ultimate demise of Imperial China. So I will look at the impact of outside influence on China and how China reacted to the pressure. Finally, I will look at the impact of the Boxer Uprising.
Chinas first major change in policy with regard to the west was set with the Portuguese. The Portuguese first attempted to trade with China, there was an awful precedent that the rest of the West would follow. The Portuguese used force to get what they wanted with regard to trade, port access, and settlement. The Portuguese were considered like bandits, but the Chinese allowed for them to trade and eventually settle. The Chinese viewed themselves as superior and these foreigners as less than civilized. This was integral part of Chinese thinking and was a major factor in the reasoning in the way China dealt with the West. According to Wakeman, the Chinese viewed themselves as superior to all other societies, he states, The Chinese did not stereotype all barbarians in a single undifferentiated category. They were acutely of the differences between Mongols khans....and Dutch merchants. But all barbarians were placed beneath the Chinese in an ideal world order of which their empire was the Central Kingdom (pg. 111). This Chinese world order has an extreme consequence later when western powers flooded into China. This view of superiority sets the tone for the relationship between China and the West.
As England moved in to the Trade picture, represented by the East India Company, it would eventually bring opium. Opium was illegal in China and England regardless, imported it to balance trade. Opium became toxic to the economy of China, to its addicts, and to the framework of Chinese agrarian society (Wakeman pg. 127-128). This drug bled the silver out of China and destroyed the value of copper and the ability of peasants to pay their rent. The illegal importation of opium and the war over it, illustrated the extent the west was going to act over profit, Chinas perception of the west as barbarians, I feel clouded their perception and affected their decision over what to do about some critical decisions. Granted, opium was a serious problem, but even the most simplest of life forms, barbarians, can cause major problems. After China losing the Opium Wars, they marked the entrance of western imperialism into China with Treaty of Nanking. If China perceived the West as a real threat and not as a barbarian, why concede? The Treaty of Nanking was one of many known as unequal treaties (Wakeman, pg. 137). The treaty was based on a policy of appeasement that gave the west a strangle hold in China. China was now dealing with the west on its terms and those terms would be granted to all other countries, this was known as the most-favored nation principle. Chinas defense was to deal with the West, Divide and rule was breached (Wakeman 140). The Treaty of Nanking set an era of concessions, appeasement, and marked a beginning for resentment against the west. The ... more
Find essay on Barbarians
The term "Barbarian" is Greek in origin. The Greeks originally levied it at any races who were not of a Greek origin; especially those who threatened Greek civilization and culture. Because most of these "strangers" regularly assaulted Greek cities, the term "barbarian" gradually evolved into a rude term: a person who was a sub-human, uncivilized, and regularly practiced the most vile and inhuman acts imaginable. It is obvious that a barbarian has not been considered as a member of society as well as a woman in Ancient Greece. In many Greek tragedies that we have read women either play a secondary role or absent at all. That is why it is so unusual to read a tragedy where woman is a main character and not only that a woman is a foreigner, a barbarian. Euripidess "Medea" was created in a period of Peloponesian War. Each war, regardless of the century it occurred, not only destroyed and killed but also caused the reappraisal of the values in the society. Literature, in Ancient Greece, used to be a main reflection of what the society thinks what values and rules it has and what impact the war had on peoples minds. Obviously, the Peloponesian War has brought a lot of stress and chaos into the society, so during this time some poets have foreseen the intellectual revolution. Euripides, however, was the first one who created the play where he opposed a barbarian to someone "civilized"; he has his Medea confront Jason. The civilized Jason is more barbaric in his emotional callousness than the barbarian Medea, but by the end of the play she exacts a barbaric penalty. The Nurse calls Medea a "strange woman." She is anything but typical. Euripides admits from the outset that this is a bizarre tale of an exceptional human being. Lest she may sharpen a sword an thrust to the heart, Stealing into the palace where the bed is made, Or even kill the king and the new-wedded groom, And thus bring a greater misfortune on herself. Two great pains tear Medea: the betrayal of Jason and her betrayal of her country and family (and consequent exile). The two are interwoven and double her sorrow. Guilt, loneliness, rejection, love, all war within her. Ah, I have suffered What should be wept for bitterly. I hate you, Children of a hateful mother. I curse you And your father. Let the whole house crash. Of course Medea is barbarian, she came from a different country, she is violent and everyone knows that she posses the unique and in somewhat supernatural power that can make people to do things her way. These characteristics correspond to the definition of barbarian in the Ancient Greece. On the other hand, we realize that the part of her power is her intellect, which is not barbarians own distinctive feature. People, including the king, are afraid of Medea. Kreon: I am afraid of you, - why should I dissemble it? - I believe their fear is based not only on the fact that she has a great passion and able to do something terrible, but also on the fact that people start to realize that a barbarian is a human who can think, who has emotions and feelings and, moreover, who can take control over them. Another factor that scares people is her being a..... woman. In Ancient Greece women had not had a political power; their voices have never been heard. Medeas voice is not only can be heard, but also her speeches are manipulative. She is able to use any rhetoric speech that appeals to the emotions of the people. Medea provokes a passion in them in response to her own. Kreon: You are a clever woman, versed in evil arts, And are angry at having lost your husbands love. Medea is smart, she is greatly aware of being a "foreigner" and the Corinthians seem to echo that awareness; she understands why she is not welcomed in the society, she realizes that she has to leave, but her emotional pain makes her to do unthinkable. Pain is often the source of anger and then violence. That progression is one of Euripides' main themes. ... more
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