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Merchants of War and PeaceBritish Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium War$
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Song-Chuan Chen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390564

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390564.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Merchants of War and Peace

Song-Chuan Chen

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter expounds on how the making of war and British knowledge about China were intertwined, and proves a brief review on Opium War literature. What previous historiography saw as the reasons for starting the war were, in actuality, new knowledge about China to the British, which was made in Canton by the Warlike party as both a discourse for mobilising the British state to wage the war and as a moral justification afterwards. The following five chapters explain this new knowledge and its relationship to the Canton system and the war argument.

Keywords:   Opium War historiography, British knowledge about China, biography of a war idea, origins of Opium War

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