Opium Wars

Write 8 pages thesis on the topic the opium wars about opium. The interests of the British traders, the true causes of the War lay in the conflicting nature of the associated respective interests embedded in significant economic and social implications of the trade of opium for the two nations. The objective of the present endeavour is to explore the causes of the conflicting interests strong enough to result in the two wars from the perspectives of both the British and the Chinese to perceive the extent to which Opium wars were truly about Opium to the degree of detail allowed by the scope of this brief essay. In this pursuit, it is first necessary to comprehend the reason for opium assuming significance in the Sino-British trade relations to a degree such that not one but two wars were fought over disputes regarding its trade. So in what follows, first the main features of the Sino-British trade relation are presented briefly.The Qing dynasty, whose reign was initiated in the mid 17th century, though often historically accused of preferring isolationist policies had, in fact, stronger predilections for participating in some limited foreign trade activity under strict regulatory controls rather than making China an autarky (Ownby, 2003). Such preferences were reflected in the establishment of the “Canton system of trade” which restricted foreign trade by making Canton the only legal port for trading and moreover, there were heavy regulations set-up by the “cohong”, a Chinese merchant group who operated as a monopoly in overseeing the trade that was undertaken in this system. The emperor allowed the Cohong to monopolize operations through price controls, duties and other fees in return for the high payments they made to the empire. Foreign merchants were subjected to severe restrictions in various forms. Interacting with locals as well as lodging formal complaints to Chinese authorities was legislatively prohibited. However, the British traders, long accustomed to dealing with such local official monopolies and&nbsp.further with operating under heavy restrictions were not dissuaded by these.

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