The Open Door Policy is a concept in foreign affairs, initially used to refer to the United States policy in late 19th century and early 20th century that would grant multiple international powers with equal access to China, with none of them in total control of that country. On paper, the policy was aimed to safeguard Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity from partition. In fact, it was mainly used to mediate competing interests of the colonial powers without much meaningful input from the Chinese, thus creating lingering resentment and has been seen as a symbol of national humiliation by many Chinese historians.
After its devastating defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, China at the time faced imminent threat of being partitioned and colonized by imperialist powers such as Britain, France, Russia, Japan and Germany. After winning the Spanish-American War of 1898, with the newly acquired colony the Philippine Islands, the United States increased its Asian presence and was expecting to further its commercial and political interest in China.
It felt threatened by other powers’ much larger spheres of influence in China and worried that it may lose access to the Chinese market should the country be partitioned. As a response, William Woodville Rockhill formulated the Open Door Policy in aim to safeguarding American business opportunities and other interests in China. In September of 1899, U.S. Secretary of State John Hay sent notes to the major powers (France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan, and Russia), asking them to declare formally that they would uphold Chinese territorial and administrative integrity and would not interfere with the free use of the treaty ports within their spheres of influence in China. The Open Door Policy stated that all nations, including the United States, could enjoy equal access to the Chinese market. In reply, each country tried to evade Hay’s request, taking the position that it could not commit itself until the other nations had complied. However, by July 1900, Hay announced that each of the powers had granted consent in principle. Although treaties made after 1900 refer to the Open Door Policy, competition among the various powers for special concessions within China for railroad rights, mining rights, loans, foreign trade ports, and so forth, continued unabated. Subsequent Development
Cite this The open door policy Essay
The open door policy Essay. (2016, Aug 27). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-open-door-policy/