Opium Delirium

Satisfactory Essays
The Opium Wars between Great Britain and China in 1839 to 1842 and 1856 to 1860 with the French joining forces with Great Britain led to social, economic and political changes in China, specifically the Qing Dynasty. The Opium Wars documented by Lieutenant John Ouchterlony, an Indian Army Officer of Madras Engineers, in “The Chinese Wars: an account of all the operations of the British Forces” gives a first-hand look into many of the events he witnessed before, during and after the wars. The action in the book ranges from Hong Kong, Canton, Shanghai, and later in Nanking where the Chinese are compelled to sign a treaty to end the First Opium War. From an unbiased perspective, which criticizes, yet praises both sides, Ouchterlony is able to portray the events that transpired in vivid detail through his words along with illustrations throughout the book. The details portrayed by Ouchterlony prior to the first war, explains how China could have easily prevented such disaster and embarrassment from occurring and tarnishing their image.
The Chinese were the main cause in the upbringing and their defeat in the Opium Wars. There were many conflicting viewpoints between the West and the East ranging from diplomatic relations, trade, and administration of justice for foreign national, which eventually led up to the first Opium War. Prior to the war, China believed they were far superior to any other civilization in the world. The Emperor of China was thought to be the elder brother to all other surrounding kings and emperors. China rarely had any contact with the West until the West turned to China for spices. This type of arrogance embodied by the Chinese proved to eventually hurt them as a society, both internally and externally.
In t...

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...s”, this began a new stage of imperialism in China.
The Opium War not only embarrassed China, but as a consequence, it also had a lot of dramatic social and economic effects as well. China’s view of the Western world along with the relationship changed drastically. Due to the war, there were a lot of internal battles and struggles as well as economic downfall especially in Canton where a lot of trading was focused on prior to the war. This left a lot of people in China without jobs, which resulted in China completely losing all power and control that it had to the Western nations. This allowed these nations to gain power over them, which was not foreseen prior to the war. As a result, China’s goal of abolishing the trade of opium throughout their country resulted in many “unfair treaties” being signed and a drastic change in their economic and social development.