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The Treaty With China

Mark Twain

Book Overview: 

"A good candidate for 'the most under-appreciated work by Mark Twain' would be 'The Treaty With China,' . This piece, which is an early statement of Twain's opposition to imperialism and which conveys his vision of how the U.S. ought to behave on the global stage, has not been reprinted since its original publication until now."

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Chinese protection of American ships against such outrages.


ARTICLE 2. The United States of America and His Majesty the Emperor of China, believing that the safety and prosperity of commerce will thereby best be promoted, agree that any privilege or immunity in respect to trade or navigation within the Chinese dominions which may not have been stipulated for by treaty, shall be subject to the discretion of the Chinese Government, and may be regulated by it accordingly, but not in a manner or spirit incompatible with the treaty stipulations of the parties.

At a first glance, this clause would seem unnecessary—unnecessary because the granting of any privilege not stipulated in a treaty with China, must of course be a matter entirely subject to the pleasure of the Chinese Government. Yet the clause has its significance. There is in China a class of foreigners who demand privileges, concess. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Twain's droll humor is such that sometimes I find myself wondering if he was serious or really kidding. His take on our treaty and relations with China and "Chinamen" was ahead of his time obviously.

Its basically a pro-cosmopolitanism, pro-liberal internationalism, pro-immigration pamphlet, but yet one which is also written from a certain perspective which would be considered "racist" today. Like the following, which I actually take to be possibly a joke: "I am not fond of Chinamen, but I am...more

This appears to be a serious essay by Twain concerning ..., July 18, 2017

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This review is from: The Treaty With China, its Provisions Explained New York Tribune, Tuesday, August 28, 1868 (Kindle Edition)

This appears to be a serious essay by Twain concerning an 1868 Am...more

(lido em Chengdu, China)