Internal Troubles, External Threats China, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan



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Chapter

19

Internal Troubles, External Threats



China, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan
1800–1914

Chapter Overview

Chapter Learning Objectives

• To make students aware of the refocusing of racism in the nineteenth-century West

• To examine the effects of Western dominance on the empires of Asia

• To explore the reasons behind the collapse of the Chinese and Ottoman empires

• To investigate the reasons for Japan’s rise to its position as an industrial superpower and to compare Japan’s experience with that of China

Chapter Outline

I. Opening Vignette

A. Japanese history textbooks became controversial around 2000, with the Chinese expressing outrage over what they regarded as a whitewashing of Japanese offenses against China.

1. the controversy reflects Japan’s surprising rise to world importance, which started in the mid-nineteenth century

2. both Japan and China had to face the threat of European dominance

B. Most peoples of Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America had to deal in some way with European imperialism.

C. This chapter focuses on societies that faced internal crises while maintaining formal independence.

D. Four main dimensions of European imperialism confronted these societies:

1. military might and political ambitions of rival European states

2. involvement in a new world economy that radiated from Europe

3. influence of aspects of traditional European culture (e.g., language, religion, literature)

4. engagement with the culture of modernity

II. The External Challenge: European Industry and Empire

A. The nineteenth century was Europe’s greatest age of global expansion.

1. became the center of the world economy

2. millions of Europeans moved to regions beyond Europe

3. explorers and missionaries reached nearly everywhere

4. much of the world became part of European colonies

B. New Motives, New Means

1. the Industrial Revolution fueled much of Europe’s expansion

a. demand for raw materials and agricultural products

b. need for markets to sell European products

c. European capitalists often invested money abroad

d. foreign markets kept workers within Europe employed

2. growth of mass nationalism in Europe made imperialism broadly popular

a. Italy and Germany unified by 1871

b. colonies were a status symbol

3. industrial-age developments made overseas expansion possible

a. steamships

b. underwater telegraph

c. quinine

d. breech-loading rifles and machine guns

C. New Perceptions of the “Other”

1. in the past, Europeans had largely defined others in religious terms

a. but had also adopted many foreign ideas and techniques

b. mingled more freely with Asian and African elites

c. had even seen technologically simple peoples at times as “noble savages”

2. the industrial age promoted a secular arrogance among Europeans

a. was sometimes combined with a sense of religious superiority

b. Europeans increasingly despised other cultures

c. African societies lost status

d. new kind of racism, expressed in terms of modern science

3. sense of responsibility to the “weaker races”

a. duty to civilize them

b. bringing them education, health care, Christianity, good government, etc., was regarded as “progress” and “civilization”

4. social Darwinism: an effort to apply Darwin’s evolutionary theory to human history



III. Reversal of Fortune: China’s Century of Crisis

A. In 1793, the Chinese emperor Qianlong rebuffed Britain’s request that China rescind or loosen restrictions on trade.

1. Chinese authorities had controlled and limited European activities for centuries

2. by 1912, Chinese empire had collapsed, became a weak junior member in European-dominated world

B. The Crisis Within

1. China was, to a large degree, a victim of its own success

a. population had grown from about 100 million in 1685 to some 430 million in 1853

b. but China didn’t have an accompanying Industrial Revolution

c. growing pressure on the land, impoverishment, starvation

2. Chinese bureaucracy did not keep pace with growing population

a. by 1800, county magistrates had to deal with four times as many people as in 1400

b. central state gradually lost control of provincial officials and gentry

3. bandit gangs and peasant rebellions became common

4. culmination of China’s internal crisis: the Taiping Uprising

a. affected much of China 1850–1864

b. leader Hong Xiuquan (1814–1864) proclaimed himself the younger brother of Jesus, sent to establish a “heavenly kingdom of great peace”

c. called for radical equality

d. even planned to industrialize China

e. Taiping forces established their capital at Nanjing (1853)

f. rebellion was crushed by 1864

5. resolution of the Taiping rebellion consolidated the power of the provincial gentry even more

a. intense conservatism, so China’s problems weren’t resolved

b. the massive civil war had seriously weakened the Chinese economy

c. 20 million–30 million people died in the rebellion

C. Western Pressures

1. the Opium Wars show the transformation of China’s relationship with Europe

a. opium had been used on a small scale in China for centuries

b. British began to sell large quantities of Indian opium in China

c. Chinese authorities recognized the dangers of opium addiction, tried to stop the trade

d. European merchants bribed officials to smuggle opium in

e. China suffered a specie drain from large quantities of silver spent on opium

f. 1836: the emperor decided to suppress the trade

2. the British responded with the first Opium War (1839–1842)

a. forced Chinese to accept free trade and “proper” relations among countries

b. Treaty of Nanjing (1842)

3. second Opium War (1856–1858)

a. Europeans vandalized the imperial Summer Palace

b. more treaty ports were opened to foreigners

c. China was opened to foreign missionaries

d. Western powers were given the right to patrol some of China’s interior waterways

4. China was also defeated by the French (1885) and Japanese (1895)

5. Qing dynasty was deeply weakened at a time when China needed a strong government to deal with modernization

6. “unequal treaties” inhibited China’s industrialization

D. The Failure of Conservative Modernization

1. the Chinese government tried to act against problems

a. policy of “self-strengthening” in 1860s and 1870s

b. application of traditional Confucian principles, along with very limited borrowing from the West

c. efforts to improve examination system

d. restoration of rural social and economic order

e. establishment of some modern arsenals and shipyards, some study of other languages and sciences

f. foundation of a few industrial factories

2. conservative leaders feared that development would harm the landlord class

3. Boxer Rebellion (1900): militia organizations killed many Europeans and Chinese Christians, besieged foreign embassies in Beijing

a. Western powers and Japan occupied Beijing to crush the revolt

b. imposed massive reparation payments on China

4. growing number of educated Chinese became disillusioned with the Qing dynasty

a. organizations to examine the situation and propose reforms

b. growing drive for a truly unified nation in which more people took part in public life

c. Chinese nationalism was against both foreign imperialists and the foreign Qing dynasty

5. the government agreed to some reforms in the early twentieth century, but not enough—the imperial order collapsed in 1911



IV. The Ottoman Empire and the West in the Nineteenth Century

A. Both China and the Ottoman Empire:

1. had felt that they did not need to learn from the West

2. avoided direct colonial rule, but were diminished

3. attempted “defensive modernization”

4. suffered a split in society between modernists and those holding traditional values

B. “The Sick Man of Europe”

1. 1750: the Ottoman Empire was still strong, at center of the Islamic world; by 1900, was known as “the sick man of Europe”

2. region by region, Islamic world fell under Christian rule, and the Ottomans couldn’t prevent it

a. Ottomans lost territory to Russia, Britain, Austria, and France

b. Napoleon’s 1798 invasion of Egypt was especially devastating

c. Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Rumania attained independence

3. central Ottoman state had weakened

a. provincial authorities and local warlords gained more power, limited the government’s ability to raise money

b. the Janissaries had become militarily ineffective

4. the economy was hit hard by Western developments

a. Europeans achieved direct access to Asia

b. cheap European manufactured goods harmed Ottoman artisans

c. foreign merchants won immunity from Ottoman laws and taxes

d. government came to rely on foreign loans to finance economic development efforts

5. had reached a state of dependency on Europe

C. Reform and Its Opponents

1. Ottomans attempted ambitious reforms, going considerably further than the Chinese

a. didn’t have an internal crisis on the scale of China

b. did not have to deal with explosive population growth

c. rulers were Turkic and Muslim, not like foreign Qing

2. late eighteenth century: Selim III tried to establish new military and administrative structures

a. sent ambassadors to study European methods

b. imported European advisers

c. established technical schools

3. after 1839: more far-reaching measures (Tanzimat, or “reorganization”) emerged

a. beginning of an extensive process of industrialization and modernization

b. acceptance of the principle that all citizens are equal before the law

c. tide of secular legislation and secular schools

4. supporters of reform saw the Ottoman Empire as a secular state

a. reform created a new class of writers, etc.—the “Young Ottomans”

b. urged creation of a constitutional regime

c. Islamic modernism: accepted Western technology and science but not its materialism

5. Sultan Abd al-Hamid II (r. 1876–1909) accepted a new constitution in 1876 that limited the sultan’s authority

a. almost immediately suspended it

b. turned to older style of despotism in the face of a Russian invasion

6. opposition coalesced around the “Young Turks” (military and civilian elites)

a. advocated a militantly secular public life

b. shift to thinking in terms of a Turkish national state

7. military coup (1908) gave the Young Turks real power

a. antagonized non-Turkic peoples in the Ottoman Empire

b. stimulated Arab and other nationalisms

c. the Ottoman Empire completely disintegrated after World War I

E. Outcomes: Comparing China and the Ottoman Empire

1. by 1900, both China and the Ottoman Empire were “semicolonies”

2. both gave rise to a new nationalist conception of society

3. China: the imperial system collapsed in 1911

a. followed by a vast revolution

b. creation of a Communist regime by 1949, within the same territory

4. Ottoman Empire: the empire collapsed following World War I

5. Chinese revolutionaries rejected Confucian culture much more than Turkish leaders rejected Islam



V. The Japanese Difference: The Rise of a New East Asian Power

A. Japan was forced to open up to more “normal” relations with the world by U.S. commodore Matthew Perry in 1853.

1. 1853–1900: radical transformation of Japanese society

2. Japan became powerful, modern, united, industrialized

3. Japan created its own East Asian empire

B. The Tokugawa Background

1. Tokugawa shoguns had ruled since about 1600

a. main task was preventing civil war among rival feudal lords (the daimyo)

b. Japan enjoyed internal peace from 1600 to 1850

c. daimyo were strictly regulated but retained considerable autonomy

d. Japan wasn’t unified by a single law, currency, or central authority that reached to the local level

e. hierarchical society: samurai at the top, then peasants, artisans, and merchants at the bottom

2. considerable change in Japan in the Tokugawa period

a. samurai evolved into a bureaucratic/administrative class

b. great economic growth, commercialization, and urban development

c. by 1750, Japan was perhaps the most urbanized country

d. high literacy rates (40 percent of males, 15 percent of females)

e. change made it impossible for the shogunate to freeze society

3. corruption was widespread

C. American Intrusion and the Meiji Restoration

1. United States sent Commodore Perry in 1853 to demand better treatment for castaways, right to refuel and buy provisions, and the opening of trade ports

2. the shogun’s spinelessness triggered a civil war

3. in 1868, a group of young samurai from the south took over

a. they claimed to be restoring the 15-year-old emperor Meiji to power

b. aimed to save Japan from the foreigners by transformation of Japanese society rather than by resistance

4. the West wasn’t as interested in Japan as it was in China

D. Modernization Japanese Style

1. first task was creating national unity

a. attacked power and privileges of the daimyo and the samurai

b. dismantled the Confucian-based social order

c. almost all Japanese became legally equal

2. widespread interest in many aspects of the West, from science to hairstyles

a. official missions were sent to the West

b. hundreds of students studied abroad

c. translation of Western books into Japanese

3. eventually settled down to more selective borrowing from the West

4. feminism and Christianity made little progress

5. Shinto was raised to the level of a state cult

6. state-guided industrialization program

a. established model factories, opened mines, built railroads, created postal, telegraph, and banking systems

b. many state enterprises were then sold to private investors

c. accomplished modernization without acquiring foreign debt

7. society paid a heavy price

a. many peasant families were impoverished

b. countryside suffered infanticide, sale of daughters, and famine

c. early urban workers received harsh treatment

d. efforts to organize unions were repressed

E. Japan and the World

1. by the early twentieth century, Western powers readjusted treaties in Japan’s favor

2. Japanese empire building

a. wars against China (1894–1895) and Russia (1904–1905)

b. gained colonial control of Taiwan and Korea, won a foothold in Manchuria

3. Japan’s rise was widely admired

4. Japan’s colonial policies were at least as brutal as European ones



VI. Reflections: Success and Failure in History

A. We must be very careful in applying ideas of “success” and “failure” to historical complexities.

1. much depends on the criteria we apply

2. need to consider the issue of “success for whom?”

3. historical actors are never completely free in making decisions and lack the benefit of hindsight

Lecture Strategies



Lecture 1: Confronting racism

As outlined in the text, the nineteenth century gave birth to a new sort of racism, one based on smug European assumptions of superiority. For this lecture strategy, we propose focusing on the issue of racism in the nineteenth century but placing it in a broader context of racism through world history. The objectives are:

• to make students aware of the many sorts of racism and prejudice that exist and have existed in world history

• to evaluate the factors that made racism more pervasive than ever before in the nineteenth century

• to consider the legacies of nineteenth-century racism in our own society

Begin by encouraging students to name points at which they saw racism in earlier world civ. lectures and readings. Examples they might come up with are:

• Greek antipathy toward the Persians at the time of the Persian Wars

• Chinese hatred of the Xiongnu nomads

• everyone’s hatred of the Mongols

• persecution of the Jews in medieval Europe

• European hatred of the Turks in the early modern period

• Arabic hatred of Europeans, and vice versa, during the Crusades

• European contempt for Native Americans

Such cases should lead easily into a discussion of when the term “racism” should properly be employed and of other factors that might be involved, such as religious disagreement or fear of a dangerous neighbor.

From there discuss the history of racism. Some important points to include are:

• Aristotle’s theory of naturally inferior races

• whether Muslims like Ibn Battuta were racist (his descriptions of sub-Saharan Africa are often very negative)

• anti-Judaism vs. anti-Semitism in the European Middle Ages

• early modern attitudes toward “noble savages” and dangerous Turks

And of course, a discussion of the history of racism should address the factors that can make people of one society feel contempt for those of another and the ways in which many of those factors came together. For example, you might include:

• prosperity

• cleanliness

• ability to control disease

• complexity of government

• overwhelming defeats in war (it’s much easier to respect a valiant enemy than an abject one)

• other factors that the Industrial Revolution contributed to European self-esteem

The poetry of Rudyard Kipling is particularly useful for this lecture.

Lecture 2: The nineteenth century and the millennium

This lecture strategy focuses especially on China’s Taiping Uprising, but places it in the context of the extraordinary number of millenarian movements that shook much of the world in response to modernization. Its objectives are:

• to encourage students to understand apocalyptic thought as a product of particular social circumstances

• to drive home the message of how painfully stressful modernization was for many people and societies

• to point to the international and interreligious nature of millenarianism

Begin with the Millerites of the United States, a particularly notable millenarian sect whose members believed that Christ would come again in 1843. The Millerites provide a useful platform from which to discuss (1) the meaning of “millenarianism” and (2) the relationship between the phenomenon and mainstream religion. The Millerites are also useful because they were contemporaneous to Hong Xiuquan (who called himself Christ’s younger brother), the moving spirit of the Taiping rebellion.

From there, craft a lecture on the theme of apocalyptic response to crisis in society, using the Taiping Uprising as a central example. Some other good millenarian leaders and movements to include are:

• the Taborites of Bohemia (fifteenth century)

• the Anabaptists of Münster (1530s)

• Sabbatai Zvi, the most important Jewish messiah claimant (1660s)

• Joanna Southcott (1750–1814) of England

• the millenarian culture of the Great Awakening in England and America (1760–1850)

• the Mahdi of the Sudan (1881–1885)

• the Native American Ghost Dance (1870 and 1890)

• the “Vailala Madness,” an early Cargo Cult of Melanesia (1919–1923)

• Russian Old Believers’ attack on Lenin as the Antichrist

• the Branch Davidian sect of Waco, Texas (crisis in 1993)

• the Aum Shinri Kyo doomsday cult in Japan (subway attacks, 1995)



Lecture 3: The Meiji Restoration and the Young Turks

This lecture strategy proposes a more detailed analytical comparison of the transformation of Japan and the partial reforms of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century. Its objectives are:

• to encourage discussion about what factors made the two societies react differently to the pressures of industrialization and modernization

• to explore in greater detail the reform efforts in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire

• to examine in greater detail the successes and problems of the Meiji restoration in Japan

Begin with two maps (preferably physical maps) of the Ottoman Empire and Japan. Encourage students to discuss the following issues:

• physical factors that encouraged or inhibited a centralized state

• the ethnic and religious issues of the Ottoman Empire

• how exposed the two states were to outside influences, and from which direction

From there, choose either Japan or the Ottoman Empire as your major example, inserting comparisons to the other as is appropriate. Some Meiji points to include:

• the threat of Commodore Perry

• why Tokugawa Yoshinobu (the shogun) resigned, and what that resignation meant

• the Boshin War

• the attempt to create a breakaway Republic of Ezo

• what happened to the daimyo when their domains were returned to imperial control

• the steps taken to abolish the samurai class and the samurai riots

• how the process of industrialization worked

Some Young Turk points to include:

• the specific reforms of the Tanzimat
period

• the problem of foreign invasions and public debt to foreign banks

• the role of the Committee of Union and Progress

• the coup of 1913

• the role of Turkish nationalism (and its effects on Jewish, Greek, and Armenian minority populations)

It may be useful to refer to the chapter’s Visual Sources feature during your lecture.

Things to Do in the Classroom

Discussion Topics

1. Contextualization (large or small group). “China’s turning point.” This chapter portrays an abrupt shift from China as international superpower to an enfeebled China breaking apart under the force of foreign dominance and internal rebellion. Ask students to discuss: What was the turning point in China’s history? Is it possible to isolate a single factor or group of factors that made the fall of the Qing dynasty inevitable? When was the last point at which China’s decline could have been reversed?

2. Misconception/Difficult Topic (large or small group). “The Ottoman Empire was a ‘sick old man’ that just collapsed.” The textbook provides a much more nuanced picture of the late Ottoman Empire, stressing efforts at governmental reform and the problems, both internal and foreign, that led to the empire’s breakup. Ask students to discuss this issue, and to make two lists, one of positive features of the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and one of negative features. After small groups have completed their lists, bring discussion back to the larger group, first sharing what the various groups came up with and then encouraging a discussion of how much of what they have listed is biased by a “Western” perspective and how much of it is either good or bad by any standards.

3. Comparison (large or small group). “Why was Japan so different?” It would seem logical that Japan would have reacted very negatively to Western encroachment—after all, Commodore Perry rammed a new policy of openness down Japanese throats, and Japan had turned definitively against Western influences in the early seventeenth century. Yet among the Asian nations, it was only Japan that embraced Western ideas and technology. Ask students to discuss this apparently unexpected historic development, trying to answer the question of why Japan’s encounter with industrialization and modernization was so different from that of the other states of Asia.

Classroom Activities

1. Clicker question. With stronger leadership, could the Chinese Empire have been saved?

2. Role-playing exercise (small group). “The dowager empress.” You, the instructor, are Cixi, the dowager empress of China (de facto ruler from 1861 to 1908). Selected groups of students are your advisers. The year is 1899, and the great question is what to do with the imperialist foreign devils who are overrunning your country. Warn your students that they must make their arguments in ways that will not outrage traditional Chinese beliefs, and then ask different groups to argue the following proposals:

• The government should hire 1,000 foreign advisers and make serious efforts to industrialize, following the Japanese model.

• The government should permit the foreigners to visit China, but order the Chinese population to have nothing to do with them.

• The government should encourage the Chinese to kill all foreigners in the country.

3. Map-analysis exercise (large or small group). “The Ottoman Empire and its enemies.” Display a good map of the Middle East—ideally it would clearly define the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century, but a map with modern political borders would also do. Go over the map with students, discussing the ethnic and religious makeup of each region and reminding students when each region became a part of the Ottoman Empire. Also identify clearly the direction from which foreign threats to the Ottomans came.

Key Terms

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