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Full Access "For the Equality of Men – For the Equality of Nations": Anson Burlingame and China's First Embassy to the United States, 1868

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"For the Equality of Men – For the Equality of Nations": Anson Burlingame and China's First Embassy to the United States, 1868

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Anson Burlingame (1820-1870), often neglected or misunderstood today, was an ardently antislavery congressman from Boston whom Abraham Lincoln appointed minister to China in 1861. Burlingame developed a Cooperative Policy that advocated peaceful means while upholding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese government subsequently appointed him China's first envoy to the Western powers. The first stop of the so-called Burlingame Mission was America, from March to September 1868. is article focuses on three topics: (1) How the mission's reception reflected the partisan struggle over Reconstruction and the push for racial equality. Republicans, the party of Reconstruction, proved sympathetic to the mission and to China, while the opposition Democrats were hostile. (2) How Burlingame presented Americans with a strongly favorable image of China to emphasize treating it with full respect and as a normal nation. (3) The Burlingame Treaty, the first equal treaty between China and a Western power after the Opium War, which sought to place China on a full and equal status in international affairs and to place Chinese in America on an equal footing with immigrants from other nations. Burlingame's friend, Mark Twain, wrote supportive articles.


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