Teaching Students About the History of the Open Door Policy in the US

The Open Door Policy is a concept that has shaped the history of the United States and the world at large. It refers to a set of principles that promote free trade and equal access to markets without discrimination. The policy was first conceived in the late 19th century as a means of protecting American interests in Asia, but it eventually came to embody a broader set of ideals about commerce, diplomacy, and human rights.
As teachers, it’s important for us to educate our students about the history of the Open Door Policy, its significance, and the impact it has had on the world. Here are some tips for teaching students about this important chapter in American history.

1. Start with the origins of the Open Door Policy

The Open Door Policy was first proposed by the United States in 1899 as a means of securing equal access to Chinese markets for all foreign powers. At the time, China was being carved up by various European powers, each of which was pursuing its own economic and territorial interests. The United States, which had only a minor stake in China, saw itself as a mediator that could prevent the country from being divided up completely by foreign powers. By proposing the Open Door Policy, the United States hoped to gain a foothold in China’s markets while also promoting the ideals of free trade and equal access.

2. Discuss the impact of the Open Door Policy on American diplomacy

The Open Door Policy became a key component of American diplomacy in the early 20th century. It was used as a framework for negotiating trade agreements with foreign powers, especially in Latin America and Asia. The policy also became a symbol of American power and influence, as other countries began to look to the United States for leadership in matters of trade and commerce.

3. Explore the policy’s impact on human rights

Although the Open Door Policy was primarily about trade and commerce, it had broader implications for human rights. By promoting the idea of equal access to markets, the United States was also promoting the idea of equal treatment for all people, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity. This had important implications for minority groups both at home and abroad, as it helped to promote the idea of universal rights and freedoms.

4. Connect the Open Door Policy to modern-day issues

Finally, it’s important to help students understand how the legacy of the Open Door Policy lives on today. For example, many of the debates around free trade agreements and globalization echo the same debates that were had in the early 20th century. Similarly, issues of cultural appropriation and colonialism are still relevant today, and we can use the principles of the Open Door Policy to guide our thinking about these issues.

Choose your Reaction!