HIS474 paper - 26 February 2008 HIS 474 Essay on Esherick...

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26 February 2008 HIS 474 Essay on Esherick During chapters two through five, Esherick talks about subjects ranging from sects, boxers and popular culture to the Big Sword society and the Juye Incident. Esherick speaks the most about chapter two regarding the boxers and popular culture. These chapters seem to be easier to analyze more so than the first chapter because of the amount of information that is given to you. Behind chapter two, chapters three and five are equally informative. Chapter five brings light to the Juye Incident and chapter three talks about Imperialism and Christianity’s impact as well as foreign imports and the relation of the Sino-Japanese war. Shandong was known to be the birthplace of many rebellions, and also where Confucius and Mencius were born. Many different sects rose from this area, the most well known of these rebellious groups had to have been the White Lotus Sect. Esherick does not attempt to hide the fact that the White Lotus was not only very influential but also their rebellions were frequent and often typically rising against dynasties for the same reasons. Some times these rebellions were regarding religion, but most often they were mixed with other volatile factors such as economic and social distress which are key in order to get the lower classes behind your cause. Certain sects of the White Lotus had followed specific codes, some of which prohibited killing and others were much different such as following a strict vegetarian diet. Also, for instance, the Wang family sect of the White Lotus dealt with escape from the four walls of liquor, lust, wealth and anger. It was not uncommon for sects of rebels to attempt to call upon the gods when going up against the Chinese state. They hoped that the gods would allow them to become invulnerable to any enemy attack. Even when firearms were implanted in fighting rebellions, those rebelling believe that they could still become invincible to enemy attack and
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their gunfire. This made for an interesting class discussion that the rebels believed that it was their superior mental concentration that kept them out of harm. It was brought up that those who fell and succumbed to gunfire had lost their mental concentration and therefore the bullets were able to pierce their bodies and kill them. Whether or not this method of fighting truly worked is still debated however, some rebels were able to walk away from fights, so maybe they were lucky or maybe just very focused. We then move from boxers and rebels to a chapter uniquely entitled, “Imperialism, for Christ’s Sake.” This chapter starts off by talking about foreign imports, more specifically opium. The topic of opium has been debated and fought over in China for many years. But before anyone could trade anything with China, they had to open their ports to the outside world. This came through the first opium war in 1839. The British were successful in opening five ports mainly concentrated in southern China.
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