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Boycotting American Goods Movement Essay

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Updated: Apr 18th, 2019

The boycotting American goods movement happened after immigrants of Chinese origin were mistreated while in the United States of America. The boycott led to nationalism in the modern China as well as immigration of Sino-Americans.

The immigrants who were in the United States of America suffered from the discrimination due to their race through harassment, massacres as well as attacks. The federal government of the United States had laws that prohibited labourers from China to go to America. The Chinese who had access to the United States of America included journalists, businessmen as well as teachers (Judge 50).

When the mistreatment of Chinese continued especially on the law to be followed, there emerged protests by the Chinese who were living in America. They used legal means to seek justice in order to find solution to their problems.

When they failed to be protected by the United States courts, they went to Beijing for negotiations of the treaty of Sino-Americans. The merchants from China in America communicated through telegrams to the government of China requesting a treaty to be signed that would restrict immigration of Chinese.

When the board meeting was held in May 1905, it marked the beginning of boycott, which affected the sale of American goods. The mode of communication that was commonly used was telegrams in order to inform people to come together and work as a team.

The students, entertainers, as well as writers were agitated on boycott where they informed people that they were suffering illegally.

The boycott was peaceful where Chinese participated through stopping ordering as well as selling goods that originated from America, such as petroleum, cigarettes, stationary and cosmetics. The artists presented songs and plays in order to describe how the Chinese in America were suffering and the need for freedom.

The climax of boycott movement was in September, 1905 and later lost momentum when merchants withdrew especially those dealing with goods from America. This was because the government of China sympathised due to the hostility and suspicion.

The government of China feared that the boycott would turn against it, which led to its end in early 1906. This movement united people who were in China and America where all of them worked together in finding solution to the problems that they encountered while in the United States of America.

During the end of the year 1904 due to the demand from Chinese, the treaty was abolished. The government of Qing told the government of United States to change the requirements of the contract. The proposal was rejected by the United States government, which led to boycott movement that broke out in the year 1905.

The main cause of this movement was the persecution of labourers from China. Qing dynasty provided steps to the boycott where the rally was held in Shanghai with a number of people involved. The teachers as well as students either left school or were suspended. The owners of businesses in America urged the government to help in changing the situation.

The boycott of the year 1905 is significant because it transformed China politically. The Chinese sympathised with immigrants who spent many months detained in sheds that were wooded. The immigrants were deported after they were examined with diseases that affected their decent livelihood.

This personalised how foreign powers impacted the people of China and the merchants could no longer buy or sell products from America as a result of pressure from the boycott committee.

The officials could not help the Chinese, who were suffering due to mistreatment because they had no authority to end the problems. The boycott movement was criticised by Chinese as well as American government due to public opinion and ability of Chinese to resist abuse (Gries 43).

When the boycott began people thought that the Chinese were weakened by imperialism in America because China was strong and able to protect the people who were overseas. The negotiations that were held in 1905 did not help the Chinese who were in the United States of America because the government of China was weak.

The Qing court was not willing to accept the treaty and sign it but the vice president told them to boycott American goods. The boycott was taken as a good opportunity to deliver political messages where leaders participated in revolutionary as well as political movements. For example, Baohuang introduced popular sovereignty that marked the beginning in transformation of politics (Armentrout 126-127).

What Were the Media of Communication Used?

Public lectures helped to communicate about the boycott together with drama as well as songs. Boycott societies had the committee who acted as volunteers to address people on the street who included journalists, teachers as well as students.

When the committee failed to communicate effectively professional speakers were employed. Lecture corps went on the road side where they stopped pedestrians to listen to them. Promoters of boycott movement went to temples where worshippers were crowded to speak to them but there was no plan to be followed (Rhoads 137).

Countrywide lectures were conducted where mass meetings were held by lecturers when people from the local community could not offer good speech. Drama and performance acted as means of communication to the people who were illiterate for them to see the need of supporting the movement.

Stories on the suffering in America conveyed boycott messages, which helped the boycott movement to be supported by many people. The play entitled the “bitter journey” showed painful experiences of the Chinese who lived in America.

Pictorial presentations after every ten days on current affairs in September 1905 had scenes that were related to boycott. Pictures were painted on kites to show ill-treatment of Chinese by Americans and the difficult situations they went through.

In addition, the pictures showed people who were worried about the negative effects of the boycott. Pamphlets and slogans written in brief and simple language helped Chinese understand the meaning of the movement and support it.

The newspapers in China helped to communicate about the tactics of boycotting laws and condemned discrimination of immigrants in America. The newspapers emphasised on boycotting the goods from America in order to retaliate the Chinese harsh treatment by the Americans.

In addition, they showed reports on how the boycott was progressing and all the activities that were involved. Shanghai news had extensive coverage on boycott activities in America and was circulating to people who paid special attention to it.

Periodicals as media of communication helped to legitimise the movement and all those who were able to read and understand obtained the relevant information. The maltreatment of the Chinese who tried to enter America was revealed in order to show their grievances (Ming 34).

Works Cited

Armentrout, Eve. Revolutionaries, Monarchists, and Chinatowns: Chinese Politics in the Americas and the 1911 Revolution, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990. Print.

Gries, Peter. China’s New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. Print.

Judge, Joan. Print and Politics: Shibao and the Culture of Reform in Late Qing China, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. Print.

Ming, Wei. Cultural China: The Periphery as the Centre in The Living Tree: The Changing Meaning of Being Chinese Today, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994. Print.

Rhoads, Edward. China’s Republican Revolution: The Case of Kwangtung, 1895-1913, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975. Print.

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