A Question of Character

Kendall Johnson

in Narratives of Free Trade

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9789888083534
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209275 | DOI:
A Question of Character

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This chapter examines one of the earliest sustained accounts of China in the first two decades of the young United States, by Samuel Shaw, a trader in ginseng, and the supercargo of the first successful round-trip voyage to Canton aboard the Empress of China in 1784. Although not recognized as an official diplomat by the Qing government in China, Shaw was appointed by the United States to be the nation's first consul at Canton. His memoir reveals ambivalence and anxiety about the consistency and constitution of the national character in the long national struggle that followed America's Revolutionary War.

Keywords: United States; China; trade; national identity; ginseng; diplomacy

Chapter.  10697 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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