Open Door

   A free trade principle promoted by the United States following Japan’s victory in the Sino-Japanese War and motivated by a concern to contain the establishment of exclusive spheres of influence by the Great Powers in China. In September 1899, Secretary of State John Hay directed a series of circular diplomatic notes toward Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia. The first note called on the powers to regard China as an open international market yet to pledge noninterference with commerce within existing spheres of influence. It also sought the retention of tariff duties collected by the Chinese government on goods at all treaty ports and the application of the duty without discrimination as to the country of origin. Lastly, it called for all nations to be treated equally in terms of harbor fees and railway duties.
   Most of the other powers announced their willingness to make a declaration of agreement - the British government noted its “pleasure,” the Russian its “happiness” - but compliance was another matter. Above all, the Open Door Notes testified to an increased American engagement in international affairs generally, along with a special interest, following the acquisition of the Philippines in the Spanish-American War, in the affairs of the Western Pacific. At the time the United States had no capacity to enforce Open Door principles, and the other powers, save Italy, had no intention of being bound by them. American interest in the region nonetheless asserted itself again five years later with Theodore Roosevelt ’s mediation of a peace in the Russo-Japanese War.
   See also <>.
    Brands, H. W. Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines . New York: Oxford University Press, 1992;
    May, Ernest. Imperial Democracy: The Emergence of America as a Great Power . Chicago: Imprint, 1991.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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  • open door — n. 1. unrestricted admission or access 2. equal opportunity for all nations to trade with a given nation, without restrictive terms open door adj …   English World dictionary

  • open-door — | ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷| ̷ ̷ adjective Etymology: open door 1. : done or carried on with or as if with the doors open : public 2. : of, relating to, or sustaining the open door in foreign relations trade was on an open door basis …   Useful english dictionary

  • open-door — also open door ADJ: ADJ n If a country or organization has an open door policy towards people or goods, it allows them to come there freely, without any restrictions. ...reformers who have advocated an open door economic policy. N SING Open door… …   English dictionary

  • open door — noun 1. the policy of granting equal trade opportunities to all countries • Syn: ↑open door policy • Hypernyms: ↑trade policy, ↑national trading policy 2. freedom of access he maintained an open door for all employees …   Useful english dictionary

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  • open door — noun Date: 1526 1. a recognized right of admittance ; freedom of access; also a policy providing such freedom 2. a policy giving opportunity for commercial relations with a country to all nations on equal terms • open door adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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