The Boxer Rebellion

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Throughout the nineteenth century China’s emperors watched as foreign powers began to encroach closer and closer upon their land. Time after time, China was forced to make embarrassing concessions. Foreign militaries more modernly armed would constantly defeat the imperial armies. As the dawn of a new century was about to begin, Empress Tsu Hsi of the Ch’ing Dynasty searched for a way of ridding her empire of the foreign invaders. Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and Russia all claimed sole trading points to their selected “spheres of influence.” Some of these countries’ even claimed that the territory that lay within their spheres was their own. With the United States’ recent acquisition of the Philippines, they too were now an Asian power just 400 miles away from Mainland China. This closeness resulted in American businesses hoping to take advantage of China’s tremendous resources. The various spheres of influence, however, challenged their ambitions. While Empress Hsi was determined to rid her country of outside influence, America was looking for a way in. Secretary of state John Hay sent letters to all foreign powers in the region calling for an “open door” policy that would grant equal trading rights within China. This would also ensure there would be no discriminating within the sphere. While the outside powers bickered over who would control China, Hsi issued an imperial message throughout China. The present situation is becoming daily more difficult. Th...

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