The Boxer Rebellion

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United  States Marines fighting the Boxer rebels*

The hatred of the foreigners erupted in the rebellion of the secret society Yihequa, The Society of Harmonious Fists,  called the Boxers by the west because of their martial arts training. The Dowager Empress sent in imperial troops to help the Boxers, hoping to get rid of the foreigners. Western nations sent in troops to suppress it in order to protect their trading interests, and their nationals living there.

The international troops looted the capital and ransacked the Forbidden City. Disguised as a peasant, the empress dowager fled the city. When she returned a year later her power was broken, and the Ch'ing dynasty was on its deathbed.

The United States, which had helped to suppress the Boxer Rebellion, called for a new expanded Open Door policy as part of the settlement which followed the rebellion. John Hay called for the open door to extend all parts of China and Proposed that China remain an independent state (nominally, at least). Other powers agreed, and the Open Door policy allowed full trade with all of China. China, which had lost control over its trading policies, had no choice.

Chinese Boxer

Chinese Boxer, 1900**

the Dowager Empress

Dowager Empress Cixi, the power behind the throne

*United States Marine Corps art

**National Archives Photo

Part of The Decline of Imperial China exhibit


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