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History-Opium Wars

Paper details

Essay: You will be required to write a 6-8 page (1650 – 2000 word) critical essay addressing one of the primary themes that we cover in the class. The three tutorial subjects, namely: Cultural Imperialism, Colonial Violence, or Colonial War and Mental Disorders, are possible themes. Additional themes from the course that you might write on include; Language and Power, Nationalism, and/or Independence Movements. If there is another theme related to colonialism that you wish to write about, please see me and we can certainly discuss your ideas.
HIS 107 F/2014 2
For your essay you should chose one or two specific contexts (say India, or Haiti, or Burma, or a specific African region or nation) to investigate (and compare if you chose to address more than one context) in some depth according to theme you choose. At least three scholarly sources (academic books and peer-reviewed journal articles – in print or online) must be used to substantiate your argument. Encyclopedias, textbooks, popular magazines and newspapers are not acceptable sources for work scholarly sources. Internet sources, movies and television shows are not acceptable unless approved in writing by the instructor at least three working days before the due date for the essay.

I have chosen “ The Opium Wars”

Thesis: This essay will argue that the Opium Wars in mid to late 19th Century Asia were an example of colonial mistreatment that was combined with imperial aggression.

One Direction: The British approach to influencing both external and internal pressures on China prior to the wars clearly demonstrated an unfair and unjustified treatment of a stronger power over a weaker foe.

Second direction: Finally, this paper will suggest that the unfortunate circumstances which ended this conflict effected Chinese culture and society for generations afterwards.

This is OK, but a little general. You will need to narrow in on one aspect of the opium wars – maybe naval superiority? Or the actual dispute about the smuggling of opium? Once you start reading, perhaps you will find a more defined angle to focus in on. The paper is only 6-8 pages. One other note, before these wars it was not at all clear that China was a “weaker foe.” The bibliography looks OK, but is not annotated.



1.Brown, John, The Opium Wars, Military History, 2004, V.21, IS.1,P.P. 34-42.

2.Gao,Hao, Prelude to the Opium War? British reactions to the “Napier fizzle” and attitudes towards China in the mid eighteen-thirties, Historical Resource, 2014,V. 87,Is.237, P.P. 491-509.

3.Keller, Wolfgang, Shanghai trade, China’s growth, continuity, recovery and change since the Opium Wars, IMF Economic review, 2013, V. 61,IS.2, P.P.336-378.

4.Phillips, Andrew, Saving civilization from empire, European Journal of International Relations, 2012, V. 18, IS. 1, P.P. 5-27.

5.Wallace, Joshua, The Opium War : Drugs, dreams and the making of modern China, Library Journal 2014, V. 139, IS. 13, P 107


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