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Importance and significance of the Open Door Policy

Assess the significance of the Open Door Policy in China.

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Hay's proclamation of the Open Door policy was a landmark moment in the history of U.S. foreign relations. For one thing, it reflected the rise of the United States as a major power prepared to assert its interests in a distant part of the world where Europeans had reigned supreme. Hay set in motion a process that led ineluctably if fitfully to America's emergence as the predominant outside power attempting to shape Asia's economic and political destiny. Hay's policy also established a pattern of U.S. behavior that had long-term consequences far beyond Asia. With its annexations of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines in 1898, the United States had demonstrated a clear interest in territorial acquisition as the means of satisfying its expansionist impulse. But Hay's notes indicated a shift toward a different approach: The United States would expand its influence through economic hegemony rather than imperial control.

The idea proved to have enormous staying power, partly because it fit with America's self-conception as a nation founded on ...

Solution Summary

Understanding spheres of influence and the barriers they created to free trade. Focus on the importance and need for the United States Open Door Policy with China.