The First Opium War and its aftermath on Chinese
To the normal Chinese man during the early 19th century, opium was nothing more than a luxury that only those of higher power or influence could indulge themselves in. Yet by the middle of the 19th century opium had become a commodity that everyone could have and that at the same time they seemed to need. Even though it was now such a big part of the normal chinese culture, it did not benefit the people nor Chinese culture, it did not benefit the people or the government. The only benefit it did seem to have was towards the British. The British were flourishing from the new Chinese market for opium, where the Chinese were beginning to turn into addicts of a drug that was slowly poisoning their way of life. The people no longer were concerned about their advancement and safety of their family but about how and when they would be able to get more opium. The Chinese government was not pleased about this and decided to take a stand that would, in the long run, only damage the very people they were trying to protect. This stand came to be known as the First Opium War (1839-1842). By the end of the First Opium War China had begun to lose its sense of identity through the use of treaties and encroachment of foreign countries, starting with the British and their Treaty of Nanking.
Throughout the years Britain had always tried to use the Chinese markets to their advantage. This is what was seen as the biggest and only cause towards starting the First Opium War. Although the British were gaining a profit from selling their own goods to Chinese consumers, they were not making enough to counter the massive amount of spending they were doing on Chines...
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... to the Treaty of Nanking creating new ports for foreigners and allowing them to live lives contrary to what was expected of the people of China. The Chinese man had become addicted and it was just getting easier for him to get the opium he needed to satisfy his need, but in order to attain the opium he was leaving behind everything that his country had taught him about his sense of self. The man was no longer the one that would be instilling the traditional Chinese values into the youth of his country; it would be the new foreigners like the British traders who had come to China to profit from the trade. The same traders who were selling the opium, that would have a greater influence on shaping China from a traditionally isolated country from foreign influence, to a country that would later become a major power in foreign trade and open to most foreign influence.