Cartoon of three dogs with human faces wearing hats from America, Japan, and Britain, walking through a door marked China trade.

Analyze Political Cartoons

The dogs represent the United States, Japan, and Britain. They guard an open door that says “China Trade.” Which country opened the door?

The French acquired the territory near their colony of Indochina. Germany and Russia gained territory in northern China.

The United States, a longtime trader with the Chinese, did not take part in the carving up of China. It feared that European powers might shut out American merchants. In 1899, it called for a policy to keep Chinese trade open to everyone on an equal basis. The imperial powers more or less accepted the idea of an Open Door Policy, as it came to be called. No one, however, consulted the Chinese about the policy.

Hundred Days of Reform

Defeated by Japan and humiliated by Westerners, Chinese reformers looked for a scapegoat. Reformers blamed conservative officials for not modernizing China. They argued that Confucius himself had been a reformer and that China could not look to a golden age in the past but must modernize as Japan had.

In 1898, a young emperor, Guang Xu (gwahng shoo), launched the Hundred Days of Reform. New laws set out to modernize the civil service exams, streamline government, and encourage new industries. Reforms affected schools, the military, and the bureaucracy.

Conservatives soon rallied against the reform effort. The emperor was imprisoned, and the aging empress Ci Xi reasserted control. Reformers fled for their lives.

The Fall of the Qing Dynasty

By 1900, China was in turmoil. Anger against foreigners was growing. While the Chinese welcomed some Western ideas, they resented Christian missionaries who showed little respect for Chinese traditions and Confucian ideas. The presence of foreign troops was another source of discontent.

Illustration of a group of men, many with queue hairstyles, holding weapons and shouting in the street.

Chinese rebels nicknamed Boxers wanted to drive out foreigners from their country.

Identify Cause and Effect

Why were the Boxers angry about the foreign presence in China?

Protected by extraterritoriality, foreigners ignored Chinese laws and lived in their own communities. In Western neighborhoods, signs announced: “Dogs and Chinese Not Allowed.”

The Boxer Uprising

Anti-foreign feeling finally exploded in the Boxer Uprising. In 1899, groups of Chinese peasants had formed a secret society, the Righteous Harmonious Fists. Westerners watching them train in the martial arts dubbed them Boxers. Their goal was to drive out the “foreign devils” who were polluting the land with their non-Chinese ways, strange buildings, machines, and telegraph lines.


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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments