How did the venality & hypocrisy of Britain’s 19th-century relations with Qing China help to accelerate the erosion of China’s sovereignty & what, if any, ways did the US benefit from “perfidious Albion's” dealings with China?
Britain turned to China to gain more wealth. They first tried to sell them cotton, but the Chinese quickly learned they could grow it on their own. The English needed a new product to sell. They started selling opium, a narcotic drug, to the Chinese. This was popular among the Confucian Scholar Bureaucrats. Because the Confucian Scholar Bureaucrats had most of the country's wealth, they spent large amounts of silver on this drug. Due to the large amounts of silver leaving the country, people in China could no longer pay their taxes. This led to people losing their homes, businesses, and property. This upset the people of China, so the Chinese made anything to do with opium illegal. This greatly angered the British, so they declared war upon the Chinese starting the Opium War. The Opium war lasted from 1839-1842. In the end, the British were successful. As a result of the treaty signed, China had to open five more port cities, give Hong Kong to the British, the Chinese government had to pay an indemnity to the British, and Chinese tariffs were abolished. This greatly accelerated the erosion of China's sovereignty. The US benefited because the Chinese would have a long standing hatred towards the British and would rather have done buisness with the Americans instead.
Mar 26th, 2015
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