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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

Incredibly well-written and a great rosetta stone for Americans to understand the basics of Sino-US relations. It's so odd to listen to in the 2020s though, knowing that not only is the Qing China that Twain speaks of is about to completely implode several times over but that even a century later hi

Wow... an absolutely stunning read for its stark historicity and Twain's brutal opining. Hard to believe our America was once like this... and how mightily China has re-risen.


"In or near one or two of the cities of China the Emperor has set apart certain tracts of land for occupation b

A very cool look at how Americans treated Chinese back in the day (terribly).
Mark Twain wrote this to help Americans understand what good the treaty would do.

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 st

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 Ameri

(lido em Chengdu, China)