Opening the door to China- Imperialists in the U.S. viewed its Philippine islands as the gateway to the rest of Asia, particularly China. China could be a huge market for American products, and it presented potential for profits to American investors with opportunities in large-scale railroad construction. As the twentieth century dawned, the emergence of powerful spheres of influence carved out by Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Japan, where each claimed special rights and economic privileges, shaped the development of U.S. foreign policy. Americans, fearing European powers would monopolize Chinese markets, moved to open the door to China.
In the summer of 1899, Secretary of State John Hay penned and dispatched a series of letters, to the imperial powers, which became known as the Open Door notes.
The letters urged those nations to announce that in their spheres of influence they would respect Chinese rights and the ideal of fair competition…no notes had been sent to China, itself.
***The goal of the Open Door notes was equal access to trade in areas of China controlled by foreign governments
In 1900, a group of patriotic Chinese known as Boxers, resenting European influence over the Chinese government, sparked an uprising that became known as the Boxer Rebellion.
Boxers murdered more than two hundred foreigners and thousands of Chinese Christians
They besieged the foreign diplomatic community in China’s capital of Beijing (Peking)
***U.S. interest also came under attack because the Open Door policy attempted to secure for the United States the same power enjoyed by other Western countries in China
A multinational force, including several thousand U.S. troops from the Philippines, arrived to put down the rebellion
Later in 1900, John Hay wrote a second series of Open Door notes, proclaiming that the U.S. would protect the territorial integrity of China, and the principle of equal and impartial trade.
Theodore Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” diplomacy Two months after Teddy Roosevelt shot into the presidency, at the barrel of Leon Czolgosz’s gun, the U.S. and Great Britain signed the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, which gave the United States the rights to build and fortify a canal across the isthmus of Panama. While many Americans proposed the canal be built through Nicaragua, a French engineer, Philippe Bunau-Varilla convinced Congress to buy the French Canal Company’s claim to a passage through Panama for the bargain price of $40 million. Now the only thing between the U.S. and its Panama Canal was the permission of Colombia.