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HIST 347: The Opium War as Global History (HC)

History 347: The Opium War as Global History (Smith) Fall 2013

Finding Journal Articles

Journal articles provide in depth scholarly information.  They are vetted and improved by peer review.  They are usually fairly short in length and focused on discussing one specific issue.  The following indexes are good places to find journal articles about history.

Use the Find It button in these indexes to find out if the journal articles are available in the Tri-College libraries. If the journal is not listed in Tripod, use the Find It request form or the Interlibrary Loan Request Form on Tripod to have a copy of the article sent to you from another library.

Discipline-Specific Indexes

These indexes are particularly good for accessing the scholarly literature of specific disciplines, i.e., articles written by historians, Asian studies scholars, and literary scholars.

Examples of Journal Articles

These articles found in America History and Life and Historical Abstracts demonstrate a range of topics brought into focus around the issue of opium.

American Missionaries and the Opium Trade in Nineteenth-Century China.  By: Lazich, Michael C. Journal of World History. Jun2006, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p197-223.

Abstract:  America's earliest missionaries to China in the mid-19th century played a key role in the formulation of early Sino-American relations. This article explores the changing influence missionaries had on American policy toward the opium trade as reflected in the provisions of the Treaty of Wangxia (1844) and the American Treaty of Tianjin (1858). As missionary attitudes toward the opium issue shifted in a subtle but significant manner in the years following the Opium War, so too did the official position of the American government as embodied in the provisions of these treaties and supplemental commercial agreements.

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Black Gold: P&O and the Opium Trade, 1847-1914.  By: Harcourt, Freda. International Journal of Maritime History. Jun94, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p1-83.

Abstract:  The 19th-century opium trade was especially important for the Indian, British, and Chinese governments. As the mail contractor for the Red Sea route to India and China, and as the only regular steam carrier until the 1860's, the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Packet Company (P&O) monopolized the transport of Malwa opium from Bombay. High in value, low in volume, and in constant demand, the drug was an ideal cargo for early steamers, which quickly displaced sail at Bombay as P&O fended or bought off several European competitors. While a rate war with the Japan Shipping Company (NYK) in the 1890's left the trade in the hands of P&O, it allowed Japan to capture the cotton trade from China and to enter routes to Europe. Exports of Bengal opium from Calcutta were different. For example, the scale of the trade, operated under government monopoly, was much larger. In the 1850's P&O was unable to gain a foothold due not only to lack of tonnage but also to the tenacity of the major carriers, Jardine Matheson and Apcars. P&O's attack hastened their transition to steam and forced them to work together to block P&O. In the 1880's, however, P&O succeeded in winning a small portion of the Bengal opium trade. The value (though not the volume) of the Indian drug declined from the 1860's as the cultivation of the opium poppy spread in China, and as growing demand from Europe for Indian agricultural produce yielded greater profits. The export of opium to China ended in 1917. In the early decades, high opium freights enabled P&O to stabilize its network of lines east of Suez. Moreover, they helped the company weather the fierce competition after the opening of the Suez Canal and remained useful until the outbreak of World War I.

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Legitimating Empire, Legitimating Nation: The Scientific Study of Opium Addiction in Japanese Manchuria.  By: Kingsberg, Miriam. Journal of Japanese Studies. Summer2012, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p325-351

Abstract:  Through a case study of scientific research on opium addiction in early twentieth-century Manchuria, the epicenter of the global narcotic economy, I trace the changing ways in which colonial medicine was used to legitimate Japanese imperialism. From a justification of empire, research on addiction was transformed into a source of validation for the Manchukuo nation-state. Distinctive practices, including the establishment of local, world-class laboratories and the training of subjects as scientists, highlight the relative importance of colonial medicine to Japanese imperialism, compared to the West.

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To Preserve Moral Virtue: Opium Smoking in Nevada and the Pressure for Chinese Exclusion.  By: Ahmad, Diana L. Nevada Historical Society Quarterly. Sep1998, Vol. 41 Issue 3, p141-168.         

Abstract:  Perceptions among Nevada residents during the 1870's-80's that Chinese immigrants were responsible for widespread opium abuse prompted many to advocate halting Chinese immigration to the United States. Beginning in the 1840's, many Chinese immigrants settled in Nevada and established Chinatowns wherever there were employment opportunities. Opium dens attracted significant numbers of whites, causing concern that the Chinese were contributing to moral degeneration and opium addiction. In 1876, Virginia City became the first Nevada town to prohibit opium dens. Soon after, the Nevada state legislature banned its use. Considered unsuccessful, these measures were followed by demands to limit or restrict Chinese immigration, which put additional pressure on President Chester A. Arthur to sign the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

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