The Pigtail War: American Involvement in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895

The Pigtail War: American Involvement in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895

The Pigtail War: American Involvement in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895

The Pigtail War: American Involvement in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895

Excerpt

The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 lies between two periods of intense American diplomatic activity in East Asia. Several decades before the war, the United States established formal treaty relations with China and Japan. In 1844 Caleb Cushing negotiated the Treaty of Wanghia with China and won the same commercial and residency privileges already granted to Great Britain as well as additional extraterritorial rights. Fourteen years later the Treaty of Tientsin gave Westerners further access to trade and travel prerogatives in China, while at the same time similar arrangements with Japan pried open that country to Americans. In the period after the Sino-Japanese conflict, once again the United States concentrated on East Asian affairs and through the Open Door Notes of 1899 and 1900 emphasized its concern for equal access to Asian markets. Encouraged by its victory over Spain and acquisition of the Philippine Islands, the United States joined other great powers in 1900 in military intervention to protect the Peking legations against the Boxers. A few years later, Theodore Roosevelt accelerated involvement in the Far East by mediating the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 and sending the fleet to visit East Asian ports in 1907.

The interjacent years, though, marked the nadir of American interest in East Asia. Many diplomatic historians consider this interval unimportant in the development of policies and attitudes toward the Far East and argue that the United States remained aloof from Asian problems during the 1880s and early 1890s. They often treat the period as a gap between two more eventful and important stages of American diplomacy toward East Asia. Despite this view, the intervening years in fact witnessed considerable Amer-

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