The Boxer Rebellion

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In the beginning of the 20th century China was behind in its technology, economy, and government. Western countries including America exploited the Chinese and their weak economy and employed the ideology of racial superiority. Westerners began settling in Chinese provinces, disrupting their traditional society. Missionaries also poured into China, evangelizing already religious peasants. Soon the peasants became discontent with foreign influence and violently revolted against it. The Chinese also resented foreigners because of past conflicts such as the Opium Wars in which Britain took advantage of China. The Chinese had a hatred for westerners rooted deep in their history. This hatred led to the Boxer Rebellion that proved detrimental to…show more content…
This reaction is unsurprising considering the undeveloped ways and technological insufficiency of the Chinese. Not only this, but the rebellion was also peasant driven. Thus civil unrest was inevitably expressed in a primitive and violent manner. The peasants represented the people. Because the Boxers were peasants they also had a large amount of local support. Bitterness towards western ideals was not only seen in the government. The people of China did not want to change their ways of life. Much of Chinese culture revolves around tradition and so changing this infuriated the population. What started out as a few people soon became a Chinese army fighting against western powers (LaFeber “The Boxer Rebellion”). At the pinnacle of the war, the Boxers were attacking cathedrals and other foreign residences such as Legation Quarters. On June 20th, 1900, the Boxers sieged the International Legations Quarter in Beijing, leaving the foreigners there completely helpless. Almost everyone in danger was wealthy and important, making it crucial to save those in the Legations (Chang…show more content…
China was geographically vulnerable because the country was right in the middle of largely threatening empires. Westerners were eager to claim a stake in China because of its promising economic opportunities. Consumed with imperialism they took it upon themselves to assume control in China. However after the British exploited the Chinese in the Opium Wars, China was no longer open to foreign influence. The Boxers established out of this very mindset, to rid the country of foreigners (Silbey 21). The Chinese also felt like they were being exploited. Through the Open Door Policy the U.S. and many other European nations gained access to trade in China. China although did not have any input in the matter. Foreign powers were doing what they wanted with China and blatantly taking advantage of the country. Along with the government the population of China felt violated and infuriated. Hatred for foreign influence is one of the key reasons the Boxers united. (Axelrod 327). The rebellion against foreigners was not entirely mutual in its motive or intentions. Many people indeed hated foreigners because of their disrespectful attempt to subjugate China. But there was also a large amount of people who resented the some 2,000 missionaries causing problems in their provinces. Missionaries were

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