Sir Claude MacDonald, the Open Door, and British Informal Empire in China, 1895-1900: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sir Claude MacDonald, the Open Door, and British Informal Empire in China, 1895-1900

1st Edition

By Mary H. Wilgus


334 pages

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First published in 1987. Great Britain secured and expanded its informal empire in China during the five years following the Sino-Japanese War. From 1895 through 1900 Lord Salisbury accepted England’s traditional, commercially oriented China policy and adapted it to dramatically altered political conditions in East Asia. Through the efforts of Sir Claude MacDonald, Britain met the commercial and political challenges of its European competitors and implemented the "open door," a strong but maligned policy. With the assistance of Britain’s indigenous collaborators, England managed to maintain a greatly weakened Manchu dynasty and to increase its financial, commercial, and informal political power in China without the use of military force or formal alliance. In order to help the reader understand Britain’s informal empire in China, the author reviews the historical background which brought China into Britain’s expanding economy.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Trade Not Rule: Anglo-Chinese Relations 1689-1895 3. Entrenchment and Reaction: The Open Door Policy and Russophobia 4. "Gunboat" MacDonald: Britain’s Man-on-the-Spot, 1896-1900 5. Artificial Agency of Informal Empire: Sir Robert Hart and Imperial Maritime Customs Service 6. Principal Instruments of Empire: Railway Concessions 1895-1900 7. Practical Informal Empire: Loans, Trades, and Mining Concessions 8. Friends in High Places: Chinese Collaborations and Informal Empire, 1895-1900 9. Conclusion; Endnotes; Bibliography; Index

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: The British Empire

The volumes in this set, originally published between 1968 and 1989, draw together research by leading academics in the area of the British Empire and provides an examination of related key issues. The volumes examine slavery in the British Empire, problems encountered in India in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, as well as the Empire at its most powerful. This set will be of particular interest to students of British, colonial, and world history.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General