Boxer Rebellion Analysis

1173 Words 5 Pages
I. Anti-Imperialist uprisings in China had torn the country apart and the Boxer Rebellion initiated a nationalist movement against the invasion of foreigners and foreign dogmas during the Qing Dynasty. This text detailed the intricate origins this rebellion with explicit detail and support for its claims of origin. While this rebellion ended in the defeat of Chinese rebels because of the intervention of the Great powers , it remains an important part of Chinese nationalistic history.
The origins of this rebellion started as many others throughout history. Those impoverished and living in areas surrounded by banditry created the atmosphere for the Uprising. The author cited the most significant arguments for the origins of the rebellion as
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Esherick’s expositionary explanation of the origins fits the style of the text, since he intends to update the reader with information on Chinese spiritualism and geographical make-up which helped initiate the rebellion in the first place. His focus on the economic upheaval of China prior to the Boxer Uprising was an important note as well: “…It seems that these regions [Shangdong] lost crucial markets to foreign imports of cotton yarn and cloth, yet were just too isolated and too lacking in alternative resources to enjoy any of the simulative effects that the treaty port economies sometimes generated in their more immediate hinterlands…” (Jos.p72-73). Overall, Esherick’s text contained many criticisms to the Qing government, describing them as incompetent and largely unable to care for their people. In essence, although the spirit of the Boxers drove the rebels to fight against the foreign invaders it ultimately led to their downfall as even the most superstitious of Christian missionaries saw through the supposed invulnerability of Boxers channeling the spirits of their ancestors. While Christians brought military might to defeat them the Boxers relied too heavily on their traditions and died in the …show more content…
Lastly, this book had many qualities that improved my understanding of this event in Chinese history. The book tended to drag on with explicit details, but this way of writing supported the author’s intention to help the reader understand the entirety of the Uprising. First time readers of Chinese history may have a hard time digesting all of the information at once but this text is quite informative. Actually, the title of the book changed my conception of the event entirely. I have always heard this uprising and have always read it as the Boxer Rebellion. This title connotes negativity towards the Boxers and immediately describes them as a failed movement. Rebels fight against society, they are thuggish, brutish and only wish to dismantle orthodoxy in favor of heterodoxy. However, the simple change of Rebellion to Uprising has semantic and linguistic importance. A group of rebels may be active participants of an Uprising, but an uprising connotes positivity that suggests a group of people (as opposed to a rebellious mob) fighting against perceived oppression or invasion. In the context of Western thought the Civil War is a simply comparison. In modern American dialect, many refer to this event as the civil war, but during the war, more partisan descriptions for southerners included the “War for Southern Independence” or “The War of Northern Aggression”. These titles imply that the Southern Confederate states fought against the oppressive Northern States, instead of

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