Opium Assignment

Opium Assignment - Tom Dahl 3/10/2008 History 152 Memorial...

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Tom Dahl 3/10/2008 History 152 Memorial on Legalizing Opium Assignment The potential legalization of opium in China was decided during the Opium war between China and Britain in the 17 th century. The Opium war was a hard time for both countries. In China, the increasing amount of opium that was leaked into China from Britain had been steadily increasing, leaving many Chinese instantly addicted and begging for more. Since Britain was still on the gold standard and silver was hard to come by, they looked for an alternative to trading silver to China for goods such as tea. The British soon discovered a drug called opium. As Xu Naiji points out, there are three kind of opium. “One is called company’s, also known as ‘black earth’ that comes from Bengal; a second kind called ‘white skin’, comes from Bombay; and a third kind called ‘red skin’ and comes from Madras. These are all places which belong to England.” (Cheng, Lestz, and Spence 112) All three types of opium became extremely addictive and equally dangerous to those who experimented with it. “Of those who use it to great excess, the breath becomes feeble, the body wasted, the face shallow, the teeth black: The individuals themselves clearly see the evil effects of it, yet cannot refrain from it.” (Cheng, Lestz, and Spence 111) The emporer of China saw how the drug was affecting his people. He knew he had to rid his people of this drug, but that was not his only problem, Silver had been leaving the country and none had been coming back in. The emporer had to decide whether to legalize opium and trade with other goods instead of silver or create harsher penalties for those caught handling the drug. In this paper I will present the opinions of Zhu Zun and Xu Naiji through their famous memorials written to the emporer, which opinion the emporer decided to adopt, and how the British responded
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Opium Assignment - Tom Dahl 3/10/2008 History 152 Memorial...

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