America*s Open Door Policy Political Cartoon By Taner Marquez

The political cartoon portrays America, a.k.a. “Uncle Sam,”
opening the door to China to the rest of the world.
Uncle Sam holds a large golden key and stands directly in front of
the extravagant gates, welcoming people that symbolize other
countries with spheres of influence in China at the time.
The people to the left are all most likely representing Britain.
The man in the circular hat and wearing a trench coat to the right
most likely represents Russia.
The creepy looking man behind the right door probably
represents Germany.
The man farthest to the right with the feathered hat represent
Finally, the man directly in front of the man with the feathered hat
may represent The Ottoman Empire/The Middle East.
America’s Open Door Policy in China stemmed from
its’ increased interest in Imperialist ideals, especially
after the Spanish-American war gave the US the
Philippines, Guam and Hawaii. It also was influenced
by the promise of cheap foreign labor and goods.
Also, Europe’s scramble for territory within China to
control left it open to complete dissension between the
world powers, separation of China into colonies, and
ultimately a possible world war.
The Open Door Policy was originally proposed by U.S.
Senator John Hays and accepted by Europe in the year
1899, during William McKinley’s presidency.
There were various effects form the Open Door Policy, including:
The Failed Boxer Rebellion of 1900 that killed a speculated 50100,000 people, mainly Chinese civilians and Chinese Christians, in an
attempt by the Chinese to end foreign influence in their country.
The Russo-Japanese War from February 1904- September 1905 that
began over conflicts between Russia and Japan over who would control the
ports along China’s coast. It was settled in 1905 after Russia gave Japan a
number of Chinese ports and the southern portion of Sakhalin Island.
Japan’s Twenty-One Demands that were created by Japan and sent
to China; created to increase Japan’s influence over China. It was denied by
the weak Chinese government and shot down by Britain and America, who
rightfully stated it was in violation of the Open Door Policy.
The Rise of Imperial Japan caused by victory in The Russo-Japanese
War and the failure of the Twenty-One Demands which eventually set the
stage for Japan to become a major imperial power and invade China and other
territories in the years leading up to and during the Second World War.
The cartoon is just a direct portrayal of the predominant
American foreign policy to Asia, especially China, at the
time. The Open door policy was designed to keep Chinese
territorial integrity intact from other nations but still allow
free flowing trade from all powerful nations through the
designated Treaty Ports in China and Korea. It shows that
American Society at the time still favored expansionism and
being a world player and being involved in the affairs of
other nations that could potentially benefit the US while
hurting possible rivals to US power. It helps us understand
just how powerful and important the US was to the rest of
the world in being able to open free, unhindered trade
between China, and the rest of the world.
The cartoon has few limitations. This cartoon as drawn
from an American perspective and shows a view more
sympathetic with the goals of America, which were to
open free trade with China to the rest of the world. In
the cartoon, it is depicted as if the US singlehandedly
opened China and as if they fully control its destiny.
This is why Uncle Sam is holding the key that opens
China and standing in the gateway as if to regulate and
control the other nations trying to get in. The key is
inscribed with “American Diplomacy” as if it was
American politics alone that unlocked China to foreign
To a large extent, US territorial expansion was a
legitimate policy to follow because it opened up
foreign markets to profitable free trade with the rest of
the world and prevented one nation except for maybe
itself from becoming too powerful and gaining to
much influence on China.
The fact that othe powerful nations were building their
empires meant that the Ushad to gain some power and
influence abroad as well in order to compete and be a
major world power.

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