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



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Abd al-Hamid II: Ottoman sultan (r. 1876–1909) who accepted a reform constitution but then quickly suppressed it, ruling as a reactionary autocrat for the rest of his long reign. (pron. AHB-dahlhahm- EED)

Boxer Rebellion: Rising of Chinese militia organizations in 1900 in which large numbers of Europeans and Chinese Christians were killed.

China, 1911: The collapse of China’s imperial order, officially at the hands of organized revolutionaries but for the most part under the weight of the troubles that had overwhelmed the government for the previous half-century.

daimyo: Feudal lords of Japan who retained substantial autonomy under the Tokugawa shogunate and only lost their social preeminence in the Meiji restoration. (pron. DIME-yoh)

Hong Xiuquan: Chinese religious leader (1814–1864) who sparked the Taiping Uprising and won millions to his unique form of Christianity, according to which he himself was the younger brother of Jesus, sent to establish a “heavenly kingdom of great peace” on earth. (pron. hong shee-OH-chew-an)

informal empire: Term commonly used to describe areas that were dominated by Western powers in the nineteenth century but that retained their own governments and a measure of independence, e.g., Latin America and China.

Meiji restoration: The overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan in 1868, restoring power at long last to the emperor Meiji. (pron. MAY-gee)

Perry, Matthew: U.S. navy commodore who in 1853 presented the ultimatum that led Japan to open itself to more normal relations with the outside world.

Opium Wars: Two wars fought between Western powers and China (1839–1842 and 1856–1858) after China tried to restrict the importation of foreign goods, especially opium; China lost both wars and was forced to make major concessions.

Russo-Japanese War, 1904–1905: Ending in a Japanese victory, this war established Japan as a formidable military competitor in East Asia and precipitated the Russian Revolution of 1905.

samurai: Armed retainers of the Japanese feudal lords, famed for their martial skills and loyalty; in the Tokugawa shogunate, the samurai gradually became an administrative elite, but they did not lose their special privileges until the Meiji restoration. (pron. SAH-moo-rie)

self-strengthening movement: China’s program of internal reform in the 1860s and 1870s, based on vigorous application of Confucian principles and limited borrowing from the West.

Selim III: Ottoman sultan (r. 1789–1807) who attempted significant reforms of his empire, including the implementation of new military and administrative structures. (pron. seh-LEEM)

sick man of Europe, the”: Western Europe’s unkind nickname for the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a name based on the sultans’ inability to prevent Western takeover of many regions and to deal with internal problems; it fails to recognize serious reform efforts in the Ottoman state during this period.



social Darwinism: An application of the concept of “survival of the fittest” to human history in the nineteenth century.

Taiping Uprising: Massive Chinese rebellion that devastated much of the country between 1850 and 1864; it was based on the millenarian teachings of Hong Xiuquan. (pron. tie-PING)

Tanzimat reforms: Important reform measures undertaken in the Ottoman Empire beginning in 1839; the term “Tanzimat” means “reorgani-zation.” (pron. TAHNZ-ee-MAT)

Tokugawa shogunate: Rulers of Japan from 1600 to 1868. (pron. toe-koo-GAH-wah SHOW-gun-at)

unequal treaties: Series of nineteenth-century treaties in which China made major concessions to Western powers.

Young Ottomans: Group of would-be reformers in the mid-nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire that included lower-level officials, military officers, and writers; they urged the extension of Westernizing reforms to the political system.

Young Turks: Movement of Turkish military and civilian elites that developed ca. 1900, eventually bringing down the Ottoman Empire.

Chapter Questions

Following are answer guidelines for the Big Picture questions and Margin Review questions that appear in the textbook chapter, and answer guidelines for the chapter’s two Map Activity questions located in the Online Study Guide at bedfordstmartins.com/ strayer. For your convenience, the questions and answer guidelines are also available in the Computerized Test Bank.

Big Picture Questions

1. How did European expansion in the nineteenth century differ from that of the early modern era (see Chapters 14–16)?

• Europe in the nineteenth century drew on immense new resources created by the Industrial Revolution to underpin its expansion.

• European states were more powerful in the nineteenth century and were able to field more military resources in their imperialist competition with each other.

• To a greater extent than before, in the nineteenth century Europe enmeshed other parts of the world in networks of trade, investment, and sometimes migration. This ultimately generated a new world economy.

Unlike the early modern period, in the nineteenth century European expansion brought with it a new culture of modernity—its scientific rationalism and technological achievements, its belief in a better future, and its ideas of nationalism, socialism, feminism, and individualism.

2. What differences can you identify in how China, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan experienced Western imperialism and confronted it? How might you account for those differences?

• Both China and the Ottoman Empire became more reliant on Western finance than Japan.

• Both China and the Ottoman Empire experienced occupation of some of their territory by Western military forces; Japan did not.

• China, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan all were forced by Western powers to sign unequal treaties or capitulations, but Japan eventually was able to renegotiate its treaties in its favor.

• All three launched modernization programs, but Japan’s was more thorough and more successful than those of China and the Ottoman Empire, turning Japan into a modern, united, industrial nation.

• A number of factors can explain the differences in how they experienced Western imperialism, including the amount of internal strife within each state, the strategic and economic importance to European powers of the Ottoman Empire and China as compared to Japan, and the relatively late and fortuitous timing of Japan’s interactions with Western powers.

3. “The response of each society to European imperialism grew out of its larger historical development and its internal problems.” What evidence might support this statement?

• Certainly the growing military and political power of Western states after the Industrial Revolution and their determination to gain influence in each society provided a larger historical development that shaped responses.

• However, internal problems shaped individual responses.

• For instance, the weakened imperial state in China and the social problems that led to serious peasant revolts like the Taiping Uprising speak to the internal problems that shaped the response of China.

The loss of territories, the weakening of the central state, the increasing obsolescence of the army, the increasing indebtedness of the state, the decline of its centrality in Eurasian trade, and commercial competition from industrial Europe were internal problems that shaped the Ottoman Empire’s response.

• Corruption within the Tokugawa regime, social change, and a mounting wave of local peasant uprisings and urban riots all shaped Japan’s response to demands by the West.

4. What kind of debates, controversies, and conflicts were generated by European intrusion within each of the societies examined in this chapter?

• While there are numerous individual examples, all of the societies explored in the chapter reacted to growing European intrusions through modernization programs, although Japan’s modernization program was more radical and far-reaching than the programs of China and the Ottoman Empire.

• All of the societies also dealt with issues of identity, as they sought new ways to define themselves. This is especially notable in the Ottoman Empire, where a new nationalist Turkish identity took shape.

• All of the societies debated the extent to which Western models should be followed.

• All of the societies dealt with conflicts between modernizers and more conservative elements in their societies.

Margin Review Questions

Q. In what ways did the Industrial Revolution shape the character of nineteenth-century European imperialism?

• The enormous productivity of industrial technology and Europe’s growing affluence created the need for extensive raw materials and agricultural products found in other parts of the world.

• Europe needed to sell its own products, and foreign regions proved to be important markets.

• European capital sought investments abroad both for the profits that they promised and to stimulate demand for European products—in part to keep the laboring classes fully employed and thus less inclined to class conflict.

• The Industrial Revolution produced technological innovations such as the steamship, the breech-loading rifle, and the telegraph that facilitated imperialism.

Q. What contributed to changing European views of Asians and Africans in the nineteenth century?

• The accomplishments of the Industrial Revolution, including the unlocking of the secrets of nature and the creation of a society that enjoyed unprecedented wealth, led Europeans to develop a secular arrogance that fused with or in some cases replaced their long-standing notions of religious superiority.

• Increasingly, Europeans viewed the culture and achievements of Asian and African peoples through the prism of a new kind of racism, expressed now in terms of modern science. Europeans used allegedly scientific methods to classify humans, concluding that whites were more advanced. Collectively, these studies created a hierarchy of race, with whites on top and less developed “child races” beneath them.

• The belief among Europeans that they were the superior race led to a further set of ideas that European expansion was inevitable and that Europeans were fated to dominate the “weaker races.” They saw it as their duty to undertake a “civilizing mission” that included bringing Christianity to the heathens, good government to disordered lands, work discipline and production for the market to “lazy natives,” a measure of education to the ignorant and illiterate, clothing to the naked, and health care to the sick, while suppressing “native customs” that ran counter to Western ways of living.

• The idea of social Darwinism made imperialism, war, and aggression in Africa and Asia seem both natural and progressive, for they served to weed out the weaker peoples of the world, allowing the stronger to flourish.

Q. What accounts for the massive peasant rebellions of nineteenth-century China?

• China’s population grew rapidly between 1685 and 1853, but agricultural production was unable to keep up; this led to growing pressure on the land, smaller farms for China’s huge peasant population, and, in all too many cases, unemployment, impoverishment, misery, and starvation.

• China’s centralized bureaucratic state did not enlarge itself to keep pace with the growing population and lost influence at the local level to provincial officials and local gentry, who tended to be more corrupt and harsh.

• Peasants frequently embraced rebellion, finding leadership in charismatic figures who proclaimed a millenarian religious message.

• Peasants also increasingly articulated their opposition to the Qing dynasty on account of its foreign Manchurian origins.

• The Taiping Uprising between 1850 and 1864 found its inspiration in a unique form of Christianity.



Q. How did Western pressures stimulate change in China during the nineteenth century?

• China was forced to continue to import opium.

• China had to cede Hong Kong to Britain and open a number of other ports to European merchants.

• It had to set import tariffs into China at the low rate of 5 percent.

• Foreigners were given the right to live in China under their own laws.

• Foreigners received the right to buy land in China.

• China was opened to Christian missionaries.

• Western powers were permitted to patrol some of the interior waterways of China.

• China lost control of Vietnam, Korea, and Taiwan.

• By the end of the nineteenth century, the Western nations plus Japan and Russia all had carved out spheres of influence within China, granting them special privileges to establish military bases, extract raw materials, and build railroads.

Ultimately, Western pressure enfeebled the Chinese state at precisely the time when China required a strong government to manage its entry into the modern world, and restrictions imposed by the unequal treaties also inhibited China’s industrialization.

Q. What strategies did China adopt to confront its various problems? In what ways did these strategies reflect China’s own history and culture as well as the new global order?

• The Chinese instituted a “self-strengthening” program in the 1860s and 1870 to bolster traditional China while also borrowing some new traditions from the West.

• They sought out qualified candidates for bureaucratic positions by instituting a new examination system.

• New industrial factories were built and older industries expanded.

• A telegraph system of communication was initiated.

• China faced opposition from conservative leaders, they hoped the “self-strengthening” program would allay fears that older systems of power privileges would disappear. They also underscored China’s dependence on foreign machinery, materials, and manpower.

• Traditional regional officials, rather than the central government, largely controlled industrial enterprises and used them to strengthen their own position rather than that of the nation as a whole.

Q. What lay behind the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century?

• The empire shrank in size both because of European aggression in places like Egypt and because of successful nationalist independence movements in the Balkans.

• The Ottoman state had weakened, particularly in its ability to raise revenue, as provincial authorities and local warlords gained greater power.

• It had also weakened militarily, as the Janissaries (the elite military corps of the Ottoman state) had become reactionary defenders of the status quo whose military ineffectiveness was increasingly obvious.

• The technological gap with the West was clearly growing.

• The earlier centrality of the Ottoman and Arab lands in Afro-Eurasian commerce diminished as Europeans achieved direct oceanic access to the treasures of Asia.

• Competition from cheap European manufactured goods hit Ottoman artisans hard and led to urban riots protesting foreign imports.

• A lengthening set of capitulations gave foreign merchants immunity from Ottoman laws and legal procedures, exempted them from internal taxes, and limited import and export duties on their products. Moreover, foreign consuls could grant these privileges to Ottoman citizens.

• The Ottoman Empire grew increasingly indebted and became reliant on foreign loans. Its inability to pay the interest on those loans led to foreign control of much of its revenue-generating system and the outright occupation of Egypt by the British.

Q. In what different ways did the Ottoman state respond to its various problems?

• It launched a program of “defensive modernization” that included the establishment of new military and administrative structures alongside traditional institutions as a means of enhancing and centralizing state power.

• Ambassadors were sent to the courts of Europe to study administrative methods, and European advisers were imported.

• Technical schools to train future officials were established.

• The Tanzimat, or reorganization, emerged in the several decades after 1839 as the Ottoman leadership sought to provide the economic, social, and legal underpinnings for a strong and newly recentralized state. Manifestations of this process included the establishment of factories producing cloth, paper, and armaments; modern mining operations; reclamation and resettlement of agricultural land; telegraphs, steamships, railroads, and a modern postal service; Western-style law codes and courts; and new elementary and secondary schools.

• The legal status of the empire’s diverse communities was changed in an effort to integrate non-Muslim subjects more effectively into the state. As part of this process, the principle of equality of all citizens before the law was accepted.



Q. In what different ways did various groups define the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century?

• The Young Ottomans defined the empire as a secular state whose people were loyal to the dynasty that ruled it, rather than a primarily Muslim state based on religious principles. In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, this group argued that the empire needed to embrace Western technical and scientific knowledge, while rejecting its materialism. In pursuit of these goals, the group argued that it was possible to find in Islam itself the basis for freedom, progress, rationality, and patriotism.

• During the reactionary reign of Sultan Abd al- Hamid II, a second identity took shape, in which the empire was defined as a despotic state with a pan- Islamic identity.

• Opposition to Abd al-Hamid II coalesced around another identity associated with the Young Turks, who were led by both military and civilian elites. They largely abandoned any reference to Islam and advocated instead a militantly secular public life. Some among them began to think of the

empire as neither a dynastic state nor a pan-Islamic empire, but rather as a Turkish national state.

Q. How did Japan’s historical development differ from that of China and the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century?

• Japan enjoyed internal peace between 1600 and 1850.

• Japan agreed to a series of unequal treaties with various Western powers in order to avoid the problems of China, which initially resisted such treaties.

• Japan, unlike China or the Ottoman Empire, sought in the aftermath of the Meiji restoration to save Japan from foreign domination by a thorough transformation of Japanese society, drawing upon all that the modern West had to offer.

• The Meiji restoration was less destructive than the Taiping Uprising, which left Japan in a better position to reform.

• Japan was of less interest to Western powers than either China or the Ottoman Empire, allowing it to reform while under less pressure.

• The reforms instituted following the Meiji restoration transformed Japan far more thoroughly than even the most radical of the Ottoman or Chinese efforts.

• Japan industrialized more thoroughly than either China or the Ottoman Empire.

• Japan did not become as dependent on foreign capital as the Ottoman Empire.

Q. In what ways was Japan changing during the Tokugawa era?

• The samurai, in the absence of wars to fight, evolved into a salaried bureaucratic or administrative class.

• Centuries of peace contributed to a remarkable burst of economic growth, commercialization, and urban development.

• Japan became perhaps the world’s most urbanized country.

• Education led to high rates of literacy.

• Merchants prospered but enjoyed little rise in social status. This, coupled with samurai who enjoyed high social status but were often indebted to inferior merchants, led to social tension.

• Peasants often moved to the cities to take on new trades.

• Corruption undermined the Tokugawa regime.

• A mounting wave of local peasant uprisings and urban riots expressed the grievances of the poor.

Q. In what respects was Japan’s nineteenth-century transformation revolutionary?

• Its cumulative effect was revolutionary because it included an attack on the power and privileges of both the daimyo and the samurai and their replacement with governors responsible to the central government.

• It dismantled the old Confucian-based social order through the abolition of class restrictions on occupation, residence, marriage, and clothing, and dismantled limitations on travel and trade.

• It was revolutionary in Japan’s study of the science and technology of the West and of its various political and constitutional arrangements, its legal and educational systems, and its dances, clothing, hairstyles, and literature.

• It was characterized by a selective borrowing of Western ideas, combining foreign and Japanese elements in distinctive ways.

• It resulted in a state-guided industrialization program. And, of course, industrialization was as revolutionary in Japan as it was in any other agricultural society of the world.



Q. How did Japan’s relationship to the larger world change during its modernization process?

• The unequal treaties were rewritten in Japan’s favor.

• Japan launched its own empire-building enterprise, leaving it with colonial control of Taiwan, Korea, and parts of Manchuria.

• Japan fought successful wars with China and Russia in the process.

• Japan became an economic, political, and military competitor for Western powers.

• Japan also became an inspiration for other subject peoples, who saw in Japan a model for their own modern development and perhaps an ally in the struggle against imperialism.

Map Activity 1

Map 19.1: China and the World in the Nineteenth Century

Reading the Map: What territories did Japan take away from China, according to the map?

Model Answer:

• Korea, Taiwan, Manchuria, the part of southeastern China containing Xiamen and Fuzhou, and the Ryukyu Islands.



Connections: Which power held the most territory under its sphere of influence in China? What is one reason for this influence?

Model Answer:

• Britain held influence over the Yangzi River valley and Tibet. Its control of India and Burma and Tibet’s distance from Beijing contributed to British control there; the strength of the British navy enabled it to penetrate and patrol the length of the Yangzi valley.

Map Activity 2

Map 19.2: The Contraction of the Ottoman Empire

Reading the Map: What territories remained under Ottoman control by 1913?

Model Answer:

• Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, the western coast of the Arabian peninsula, including Medina and Mecca, and Yemen.



Connections: Which non-Muslim nations achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire?

Model Answer:

• Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Georgia were all Christian societies that had been under Muslim Ottoman control for almost 500 years.

Using the Documents and Visual Sources Features

Following are answer guidelines for the headnote questions and Using the Evidence questions that appear in the Documents and Visual Sources features located at the end of the textbook chapter. Classroom Discussion and Classroom Activity suggestions are also provided to help integrate the document and visual source essays into the classroom.

Documents Headnote Questions

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