Chinese Opium War Essay

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The Chinese Opium Wars were a devastating blow to the Chinese government and its relationship with the Western countries. The First Opium War was mainly due to the opium trade. The Second Opium War started with a misunderstanding on a merchant ship and the already boiling tensions between the Chinese and the Western countries. This is an investigation to answer the question: To what extent has the Second Opium War influenced the change in the Chinese government and military?

The two main sources for this investigation are The Chinese Opium Wars by Jack Beeching and The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of China by Julia Lovell. These books provide detailed descriptions of the Second Opium War and the long-lasting effects that it had.

The Chinese Opium Wars by Jack
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Her narrative balances the military account, private descriptions, and analysis. Lovell herself is a sinologist and translator from China. Her book uses both English sources and and Chinese sources. However, these accounts are not as numerous in the first hand resources than with the accounts of the war afterward. Lovell writes the book for the same reasons as Beeching, to begin a narrative for history. Lovell writes that the Opium war is less prominent in Chinese memory than in history itself. She writes great accounts of the the war and the battles fought, but she overdoes the level of indecision on the British side. Lovell also tries to write the history of the Opium War in the last third of the book. This leads to a vague description of the war, which leads to an audience misinterpreting the purpose of the book. The book also ignores the Chinese discrimination of the West. The Chinese were known in the Western countries to be condescending, closed, and hostile to foreigners. These are some of the main traits for the start of the Opium
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