China and the United States of America
Notes from Japan, China and the Powers

For The U.S. War Against Asia
by William P. Meyers

Site Search

Also sponsored by Peace Pins

Popular pages:

U.S. War Against Asia
Barack Obama
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Natural Liberation


China and the U.S.
1842 until 1900

Page 1 2 3 4 5 Outline

All [page numbers] reference China, Japan, and the Powers by Meribeth E. Cameron, Thomas H. D. Mahoney, and George E. McReynolds. The Ronald Press Company, New York. Copyright 1952

When the Opium War ended in 1842 the trade provisions of the Treaty of Nanking, between China and Great Britain, were extended to other nations including the U.S, which sent Caleb Cushing as an envoy. The Treaty of Wanghia was signed on July 3, 1844. This was one of the “unequal treaties” that granted the privilege of extraterritoriality, and the right to trade in Chinese ports. [p. 173-174]

At the insistence of Britain and the U.S. in 1845 the Emperor granted Protestant Christianity equal standing in China with other religions. [175]

Arrow War: Many Chinese continued to resist Euro-American intrusion despite the treaties. “That the Chinese had some justification is clear from the continued smuggling of opium, and the iniquitous practice of kidnapping coolies and placing them in what often amounted to slavery in parts of Latin America and California.” The British bombed Canton in 1856 after the Chinese seized a ship that was actually Chinese but flew a British flag. Later, some forts near Canton “… fired upon an American ship. Its commander, Captain Foote, promptly captured and dismantled the forts with the loss of seven American lives. The Chinese commissioner in Canton was quick to make an apology to the Americans, and the incident was considered closed.” [176-177]

This all, and the capture of the Pei Ho forts, led to the treaties of Tientsin in 1858 between China and Russia, United States, Britain, and France. The U.S. was granted the right to have a representative in Peking if any other nation did. But the Chinese were slow to ratify the treaties, then tried to recapture the Pei Ho forts from the French and British. Americans under Josiah Tatnall came to the aid of the Europeans. After the allies (?) took the Summer Palace in Peking, the Treaties of Tientsin were ratified on October 25, 1860. This was when Hong Kong was ceded to the British. [177-178]

In 1861 Anson Burlingame was the first American Minister to China to take up residence in Peking. He advocated “the fullest trading rights for the United States and the territorial integrity of China.” The Chinese referred to Americans as “Flower Flag Devils.” [178]

A number of American efforts were made to grab the island of Formosa [Taiwan]. Commodore Matthew C. Perry and William H. Seward “envisaged an American empire in the Pacific.” Perry advised the U.S. to establish a protectorate in Formosa at the same time as his Japanese mission, but the suggestion “fell upon deaf ears in official Washington.”  Later a Dr. Peter Parker, made efforts to grab Formosa (dates uncertain; footnote says he had been a missionary in China and was appointed commissioner in 1855. “Tow partners in a private business venture in Formosa had in 1856 raised the American flag over their holdings on the island.” Again, Washington demurred. Townsend Harris also wanted to annex Formosa. The problem, apparently, was that it was thought if the U.S. grabbed Formosa, that would be the end of the Open Door; other Powers would grab other chunks of China. [330]

By 1880 Chinese immigrants were 9% of the population of the State of California. The prior Burlingame Agreement had permitted unrestricted immigration. Congress passed the Fifteen-Passenger Bill, but President Rutherford B. Hayes vetoed it. Instead he had negotiated the Treaty of 1880, altering the prior treaty to allow the U.S. to limit Chinese immigration and “forbade the importation of opium into China by American citizens. Congress passed and Hayes signed a bill suspending Chinese immigration for 10 years. Also an indemnity was paid for anti-Chinese violence, including the Rock Springs, Wyoming massacre of thirty Chinese miners. [333-334]


III Blog list of articles