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Walter LaFeber : Revolution in China
Walter LaFeber In 1900, China was in the first stages of this great 20th century revolution that it was going to go through. The 300-year Manchu Dynasty was on its last legs and it was clear that the Manchus could not control the uprisings that were occurring in the interior of China. These uprisings were particularly focused against Western businesses and Western missionaries. And a lot of anarchy in China that erupts in 1900, particularly, of course, the Boxer Rebellion, this great rebellion that begins to target foreigners, including Americans, originates in many of the areas of China where, for example, Western railroad builders are working, or where Western missionaries have been crusading throughout the 1890s. And the Manchus can not control this rebellion. As a result, what the Boxers do is began to murder American missionaries and other missionaries.

China, quite clearly was unable to govern itself, was unable to order its society by 1900. One of the most surprising things that had happened in the 1890s was the Japanese defeat of the Chinese military. No one had looked for this in 1894-95, and the speed with which the Japanese destroyed the Chinese military I think was a revelation to most foreign observers. They did not realize what hollow shell China, and particularly the Chinese military was until the Japanese destroyed the Chinese fleet and military in 1894 and '95. So that by 1900, China is essentially looked at as a nation and a people that can not defend itself. Later, China would be described as a "bone among the dogs". The dogs in this case are, of course, the imperial powers. And the United States is one of the dogs competing for the bone.

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