Wednesday, January 31, 2007

American-Korean War of 1871

Indeed, the American–Korean War of 1871 is little known by Americans (Asians as well) today. But, historian Gordon Chang points out, “the 1871 clash was a major historical event by any standard,” and it “was also the first time that American ground forces actually seized, held, and raised the American flag over territory in Asia, initiating a long and traumatic tradition of American military involvement there.”

In the article “Whose ‘Barbarism’? Whose ‘Treachery’? Race and Civilization in the Unknown United States–Korea War of 1871,” Professor Chang gives a detailed account of this War. Besides recapturing the historical importance of the War, it shows how the ideas about race and civilization of the American leaders of the 1871 expedition, such as Frederick F. Low, decisively shaped American decision making. It is so a challenge to the so-called “Wisconsin School,” which posits that the search for economic opportunity as the motive force in American efforts to open Asia (the Open Door policy as the taproot of nineteenth-century American diplomacy in Asia) to avoid domestic revolution and socialism.

Highly recommend this article to you.

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