Back to WHKMLA Main Index . WHKMLA, Students' Papers Main Page . WHKMLA, Students' Papers, 12th Wave Index Page

The Coverage of the Sepoy Rebellion and the Boxer Rebellion in 19th Century Encyclopedias

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Kim, Min Woo
Term Paper, AP European History Class, June 2009

Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. Sepoy Rebellion (Indian Mutiny)
II.1 Definition
II.2 Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906 edition, Article: Ghosalker, Solomon Daniel, published by Funks and Wagnalls
II.2.1 Source (Level of Detail)
II.2.2 Objectivity & Racism
II.3 Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 edition, Article: India (in German), Edited by Joseph Meyer
II.3.1 Source (Level of Detail)
II.3.2 Objectivity & Racism
II.4 Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, Article: India Edited by Charles G. Herbermann and Edward A. Pace
II.4.1 Source (Level of Detail)
II.4.2 Objectivity & Racism
II.5 Britannica 1911 edition, Article: Sepoy Rebellion, Edited by Hugh Chisholm and Franklin Hooper
II.5.1 Source (Level of Detail)
II.5.2 Objectivity & Racism
II.6 Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930, Article: India (in Danish), Edited by Christian Blangstrup
II.6.1 Source (Level of Detail)
II.6.2 Objectivity & Racism
III. Boxer Rebellion
III.1 Definition
III.2 Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906 edition, Article: China, published by Funks and Wagnalls
III.2.1 Source (Level of Detail)
III.2.2 Objectivity & Racism
III.3 Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 edition, Article: Boxer Rebellion (In German), Edited by Joseph Meyer
III.3.1 Source (Level of Detail)
III.3.2 Objectivity & Racism
III.4. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, Article: Boxer Rebellion, Edited by Charles G. Herbermann and Edward A. Pace
III.4.1 Source (Level of Detail)
III.4.2 Objectivity & Racism
III.5. Britannica 1911 edition, Article: China, Edited by Hugh Chisholm and Franklin Hooper
III.5.1 Source (Level of Detail)
III.5.2 Objectivity & Racism
III.6. Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930, Article: China (in Danish), Edited by Christian Blangstrup
III.6.1 Source (Level of Detail)
III.6.2 Objectivity & Racism
IV. Conclusion

I. Introduction
            In articles, their subjectivity cannot be left out alone just to keep objectivity. Especially such cases like the encyclopedia, the author has to be truthful about the unchangeable facts and statistical data as possible, but interpretation is inevitably put into description. Each encyclopedia interprets its own point of view, which differs from country to religion which is affected by factors such as nationality, religion, ethnicity etc. The difference might seem minor but with full understanding of level of detail, level of bias, and level of racism it brings on a new perspective. Also, the surprising differences in perception between nation and religion are what this paper would focus on.
            The Boxer Rebellion and the Sepoy Rebellion is both described in the encyclopedias of the early 20th century. Each incident being taken in the countries of colonization, the West expresses its views only in its level but still has differences. The Britannica of 1911, Danish, and German encyclopedias will be used to compare the insight easily accessible to readers from these nations. The major power of colonization, Britain, and other western forces which did not participate as much as Britain such as, Germany and Denmark, will present different importance on the subject, which will be further explained. Also, the comparison between the Catholic and Jewish encyclopedia will present each religions influence in these incidents.
            To have full in depth analysis, the countries or the religion which are directly related and the ones which are indirectly related were needed. For the Sepoy Rebellion, Britain was directly related to the matter at hand. However, Denmark and Germany were the western viewers of this situation, which can show a difference between Britain. Religious wise, the Sepoy Rebellion did not have much to do with religion but still needed diverse view points. Therefore the Catholic and the Jewish encyclopedia were selected. For the Boxer Rebellion, Britain and Germany took role to disintegrate the rebels. On the other hand, Denmark was the by stander in this incident. Therefore the countries which participated and the one which did not participate will have different perspective. Moreover, the Boxer Rebellion was deeply related to Catholics in China, the victims of the rebellion. On the other hand, the Jews were the by stander in this situation. To sum up, for each happening, subjectivity and objectivity can be observed by direct relationship and indirect relationship of each nation or religion.
            Generally the Britannica had the most somewhat a biased view point toward western civilization on opinions in both topics. Salmonsen was very neutral on two subjects as bystander. Meyers was objective on the Sepoy Rebellion but subjective on the Boxer Rebellion. However all of them did remain objective with numerical facts or factual data. On the other hand, the religious encyclopedias were biased only to their religion not considering country or cultural background. The Catholic Encyclopedia did not show interest in the Sepoy Rebellion, but descriptive explanation on the Boxer Rebellion in favor of the Catholics. The Jewish encyclopedia did not show much interest in both so it is hard to judge its objectivity. Throughout this paper, these different kinds of view point will show you the picture as the whole.

II. Sepoy Rebellion (Indian Mutiny)

II.1 Definition
            The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May, 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region. The rebellion posed a considerable threat to Company power in that region, and it was contained only with the fall of Gwalior on 20 June 1858. Sources published before 1947, and sources published outside of India since, refer to the Sepoy Rebellion also as the Great Rebellion, the Indian Mutiny, the Revolt of 1857, the Uprising of 1857 and the Sepoy Mutiny. Post-colonial Indian Historians have suggested the term India's First War of Independence. Indian historiography in English or any other European languages was long dominated by British historians. Since the 1930s, the Indian movement for independence urged the emergence of an Indian school of historians, which started decolonization of Indian history by writing numerous articles in English.

II.2 Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906 edition, Article: Ghosalker, Solomon Daniel, published by Funks and Wagnalls

II.2.1 Source (level of detail)
            It only has three soldier or general who participated in the Sepoy Rebellion on the British side and one merchant who funded the poor and the women who lost their husband during the rebellion. They are all Jewish. It has no specific article about the Sepoy Rebellion itself. Even the brief history of India is all Jewish related and did not have any mention about the sepoy Rebellion.

II.2.2 Objectivity & Racism
            There was no information but it can be predicted that this encyclopedia is in favor for Jews. Judaism is a religion which values equality. Therefore it can be predicted that there would be no racist opinion or attitude in the articles.

II.3 Meyers Konversationslexikon 1902-1909 edition, Article: India (in German), Edited by Joseph Meyer

II.3.1 Source (level of detail)
            The German encyclopedia also does not have much information compared to Britannica but to the same level as Salmonsen. It has an article about an English general named Alexander Dow. He has served in the army during the Indian Rebellion. There are some battles listed which were also mentioned in Britannica. However, it is not descriptive at all. Only basic and fundamental information is stated. In part of the history of India only a brief definition and its aftermath is explained. For the administration of India was the Sepoy Uprising a crucial turning point (1). This statement also defines the Sepoy Rebellion as a critical moment for Britain and India. Usually it focused on after the rebellion and the changes that followed afterwards, such as Queen Victoria ruling the Indian Empire, or other battles with small countries to fully unite India.

II.3.2 Objectivity & Racism
            Compared to Salmonsen or the Britannica, it maintained the most objectively throughout the articles. It was basically neutral facts and dates which explain the Rebellion overall. There was any personal remark or any opinion which supposed to seem biased. Moreover, because there was nothing biased toward the western countries, it did not involve any racial discrimination in the text. The article only listed the chronological order of British conquering India once and for all, which was explained without siding with the British.

II.4 Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, Article: India Edited by Charles G. Herbermann and Edward A. Pace

II.4.1 Source (level of detail)
            It does not have any information about the Sepoy Rebellion. There were no results related to sepoy, or any kind of rebellion related to India. The only source was the basic information about India, which was usually concentrated on the Catholic history of India and the number of churches. This is because there was not a lot of Catholic involvement in India. Also, the rebellion was just based on a rebellion between the soldiers which have nothing to do with religion whatsoever. The rebellion was the conflict between British authorities over the country, not a single religious conflict was involved.

II.4.2 Objectivity & Racism
            Nothing could be found about the rebellion, so objectivity cannot be determined. However in the description of India¡¯s history, it only interprets the Catholic view so it is biased only in the religious field. Moreover, nothing could be found, but the articles which dealt with India did not have any inferior attitude towards India. The explanation was founded on equality rather than racial discrimination

II.5 Britannica 1911 edition, Article: Sepoy Rebellion Edited by Hugh Chisholm and Franklin Hooper

II.5.1 Source (level of detail)
            The most impressive point about Britannica was that it had the most descriptive, insightful, and detailed article for the Sepoy Rebellion. This is because India was in the rule of Britain and this crucial incident had a huge impact for both countries, India and the Britain. It starts by giving a brief summary of what happened. It also compares other incidents which happened before and after the Indian Mutiny, to give a better insight on when it happened. It has delicately explained what kind of social situation was happening which initially fired the Indian Mutiny. The detailed information about the sepoy army shows in depth analysis of the India's culture and race. The surprising part is that it has specific statistical data about the number of sepoy army to the last thousand. Furthermore, there is even a news article quoted in the encyclopedia. John Jacob in 1858 wrote in The Times as follows: "There is more danger to our Indian empire from the state of the Bengal army, from the feeling which there exists between the native and the European, and thence spreads throughout the length and breadth of the land, than from all other causes combined. Let government look to this; it is a serious and most important truth" (2). This proves that this encyclopedia even took a part from its country¡¯s newspaper to show how the media perceives this situation.
            The article explains on what directly influenced the sepoy rebellion from the start. It describes the Indian Mutiny in a narrative way which shows the flow of the incident. It is specific by naming numerous generals who participated in battle and the chorological flow of the regions they have fought during the rebellion. Many battles were listed throughout the explanation with further detail of number of soldiers, weapons, and regional names. One unique fact about this encyclopedia is that there are some personal statements or writings of generals from Britain, which brings life in bold text. It also concentrated on how the battles were fought, such as tactics, machinery being used, and the aftermath of each battle. The majority of the text focuses on how the Indian Mutiny progressed and the ways that the Britain army reacted to this rebellion.
            The chief result of the Indian Mutiny was to end the government of India by the East India Company (3). The description ends with the overall concept of this rebellion and the other majority's view for this mutiny. It gives an analysis that only the majority was actually neutral or sometimes helped the British army. In the end the mutineers faced execution and the ultimate victory of Britain was boasted as well as exaggerated. In other words, Britain had elaborated the battles in their own taste.

II.5.2 Objectivity & Racism
            This article was searched as the word ¡°Indian Mutiny¡±. It used the term ¡°The Indian Mutiny¡± rather than what people know today, the Sepoy Rebellion. The previous term had a connotation of the country India uprising as a whole, not only the sepoy soldiers, which expresses more hatred and aggressiveness of the Indians. Also, the word mutiny is used from the Britain¡¯s point of view. Mutiny has an impact as the wrongdoers uprising against the righteous government. However, the word Sepoy Rebellion interpreted the Indians¡¯ point of view. Sepoy was the Indian army working for Britain during that time. By using the word ¡°Sepoy¡± it became clear who participated in the rebellion. Moreover, the word ¡°Rebellion¡± has more of a meaning as fighting for one¡¯s freedom against the suppressing evil government. Therefore, from the start, use of vocabulary shows the biased views from the Britain and the correction that India made afterwards.
            Also, throughout the description of the battles, it is generally pro-British and Anti-Indian. The battles were all from the British general¡¯s perspective and describe the sepoy mutiny as barbaric, unorganized, and brutal. Most of the British officers and residents were massacred then, or afterwards (4). This sentence shows the sympathy for the British soldiers for their death caused by the Indian Mutiny. However, there were no descriptions whatsoever about the deaths of the Sepoy soldiers or any cruel deeds that the British took. From this example, this encyclopedia has proven the fact that it only expresses the Britain army as the victim of this horrible disaster.
            Moreover, from the beginning, the encyclopedia justifies Britain¡¯s action towards this mutiny and glorifies their victory over this rebellion. The Indian government failed to take sufficient account of the social and religious feelings of their native soldiers, whilst a rigid insistence on the principle of seniority had greatly diminished the efficiency of the British regimental officers (5). This statement shows the hostility towards the Indian government and provokes an image that India is inferior to Britain. Also, this expresses the damage that the Britain generals faced due to inefficiency of India. The descriptive battles mostly elaborated on the victories that Britain achieved throughout the whole rebellion. The losses were not even mentioned once, but the route of the British army and its tactics were boasted as if they were the best. But a wiser view soon prevailed, and the natives of India at large gratefully accepted the queen's proclamation as the charter of their lives and liberties (6). This sentence not only justifies but also glorifies the act of the British Empire and over-generalizes the Indian majority that they actually wanted the rule of Britain for their good.
            There was only one inaccuracy with a type error. The Indian Mutiny, the great revolt of the Bengal native army in 18J7 (7). Its immediate causes were a series of circumstances which promoted active discontent with British rule. The year should be corrected into 1857
            This article as a whole puts India inferior to Britain to justify the means of colonization. This attitude can be seen in from the start of the article. It gives a definition of the Sepoy Rebellion as transference of Indian government from the East India Company to the crown in 1858. It did not emphasize any meaning for Indians¡¯ point of view. Its immediate causes were a series of circumstances which promoted active discontent with British rule (8). This statement uses the word promote which is a positive connotation to the British rule and deceives the readers that it is natural or even proper for the British to take over India.
            In the last, it justifies British¡¯s action once more by using the authority of the Queen. Now that the East Indian Company is demolished, the righteous queen will rule the uncivilized. As mentioned above, it exaggerates the fact that the majority of the Indians wanted British rule and only a few rebelled during the Indian Mutiny. This emphasis shows that the Indians "need" British in order to become a civilization and love toward British in an inferior way. Wanting to be ruled by outside authority means that the people of its nation does not want its own government but wants the help of the superior western civilization, which is Britain in this case. Therefore, the Britannica describes this situation so naturally that British ruling India is an immutable fact and should be respected.

II.6 Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930, Article: India (in Danish), Edited by Christian Blangstrup

II.6.1 Source (level of detail)
            The Denmark encyclopedia only touches a small portion of the Sepoy Rebellion. It does not have a specific section only for the Sepoy Rebellion. However, the term Sepoy Rebellion comes out a few times. The Sepoy Rebellion is not fully written in depth because Denmark and India did not have much in common or a special relationship rather than trade, which is actually with Britain. The first article related to the Sepoy Rebellion was Queen Victoria Alexandrine. It has a brief layout of her life and a short mention on the annexation of India during her rein. Sepoy Rebellion was best explained in the part of Indian history during the late 19th century. During the last decade had arisen in I. a strong and growing Independence Movement, which caused the eng. Domination (9). The Sepoy Rebellion is described as ¡°domination¡±, which has a negative connotation for England¡¯s action towards India. Denmark preferred intervention of England rather than total dominance over the country, because it meant more authority of Britain over South Asia. Mostly it describes the Sepoy Rebellion step by step, but not as thorough as Britannica. It is a brief form of Britannica which only list the cause of the rebellion and the direct aftermath, which is England rule over India.

II.6.2 Objectivity & Racism
            This encyclopedia does not use the term Indian mutiny, but only uses Sepoy Rebellion. It does use the general term that the western countries use today. However, it is only slightly more objective than Britannica, and does not perceive the view point of the Indians. One similarity with Britannica is that even the Denmark encyclopedia illustrated the rebellion in a large scale which brought a huge impact to India. However, there was a pro-British statement. Because after the sepoy uprising in India-1858 was placed directly under the crown, she undertook the proclamation which was held in the human, conciliatory tone, as she was appropriate for a female ruler (10). This shows preference toward the Queen by complementing her humane and kind personality, which cannot be proven as a fact. The last part approving her as the appropriate ruler definitely shows favor toward the British. As a European country, Denmark was slightly biased toward the Britain and its Queen. It also means that the Denmark understood Britain¡¯s control over India. It does contradict with the use of the term domination, as stated above, but overall it is in favor for Britain.
            Denmark, being a western country as well, does indeed show racism in the articles. It is much less harsh than Britannica; however, being Pro-British, it did explain India to an inferior level. The relationship was that the British have done very well for economic and industrial profits, but for Indians, they were heavily taxed (11). This statement shows the approval for British relationship with India, which is actually exploitation.

III. Boxer Rebellion

III.1 Definition
            The Boxer Rebellion, more properly called the Boxer Uprising, or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in Chinese, was a violent anti-foreign, anti-Christian movement by the "Righteous Fists of Harmony,¡± or Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists in China, between 1898 and 1901. In response to imperialist expansion, growth of cosmopolitan influences, and missionary evangelism, and against the backdrop of state fiscal crisis and natural disasters, local organizations began to emerge in Shandong in 1898. At first, they were relentlessly suppressed by the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty of China. Later, the Qing Dynasty tried to expel western influence from China. Under the slogan "Destroy the foreign", Boxers across North China attacked mission compounds. They killed missionaries and Chinese Christians.

III.2 Jewish Encyclopedia 1901-1906 edition. Article: China, published by Funks and Wagnalls

III.2.1 Source (level of detail)
            The Jewish encyclopedia has barely any kind of information related to the Boxer Rebellion. In history of China, there were only articles related to the Jews establishing new lives in China. The Catholic related Boxer Rebellion was not great importance to the Jews.

III.2.2 Objectivity & Racism
            Because there was no information, objectivity cannot be judged. However, because this encyclopedia focuses on the influence of Jews, it would be biased toward the Jewish point of view in China. As stated above, no article was found, therefore racism cannot be determined. However, Jews being the minority in Europe and having been persecuted in their lives, they might have understand China¡¯s point of view, therefore did not discriminate Asian culture and the Boxer movement

III.3 Meyers Konversationslexikon 1902-1909 edition, Articles: Boxer Rebellion, China (in German), Edited by Joseph Meyer

III.3.1 Source (level of detail)
            An independent article is written for the Boxer Rebellion. The xenophobic movement in China, which, in its beginnings reaching back several years, 20 June 1900 to assassinate the German ambassador in Beijing and on the armed intervention of Great Powers conducted under German management (12). This definition clearly shows the German interpretation of this incident. For the German¡¯s point of view, their reason for participating to end this Rebellion was because the German ambassador was killed and Christianity could not flourish freely in China. Also Boxer Rebellion was in the history of China, and also in part of Deutschland. It had very long description of the German army participating in the Boxer Rebellion. The Landheer is described to function as the army in the Boxer Rebellion. Type of weapons, number of soldiers, general names, specific dates and places, army routes, social and economical background are all explained thoroughly and precisely. It was the most detailed article related to the Boxer Rebellion. It was professional and also written very well with a narrative style, which was easy to comprehend. It mainly focused on the German¡¯s army but also wrote descriptions of the army of Britain, Japan, and even Russia.
            Religious facts are not as much compared to the military data. Because Germany was a nation with immense military and focused on the development of weapons and the size of the army, religious background was described relatively small. Basically it listed all the statistical and objective facts of the Boxer Rebellion from the western point of view.

III.3.2 Objectivity & Racism
            As the other western encyclopedia, the German article also has slight more favor to the European culture. It portrays the Chinese as the weak nation which rejected Christianity for no reason. It usually described the greatness of the German army and other countries¡¯ military force somewhat sound weak than the Germans¡¯ own army. However, the German article precisely and accurately described the battles and the procedure of the Boxer Rebellion. Even if it only portrayed the German¡¯s action in the Boxer Rebellion, it did not boast or distort historical facts related to the battles fought during the rebellion. The number of casualties was both shown and it also described Chinese army¡¯s action and its routes without disregarding them. Therefore, the article of Germany was the most neutral by explaining both side of the story, the Germans and the Chinese.
            Compared to the neutral explanation of the procedure, it did contain some quotes which discriminated the Chinese. The Chinese army was not too successful war qualifies because persistent catering, medical treatment including, but lacked the moral qualities (13). The soldier was from the lowest strata of the population showed the lowest level on standing officer corps included any comparison with the civilized states (14). The emperor has no supreme warlord as the absolute upper control over the army, and war is the supreme administrative extremely dependent (15). From the fortifications in China, the main stronghold, the Great Wall is completely outdated (16). These quotes clearly degrade the Chinese culture and the government. It criticizes the moral qualities of the Chinese soldiers which is not an objective judgment to make. Also it condemns the officers calling them the lowest level, which is too extreme. The emperor is disrespected for his impotence over the army and lastly, even the cultural aspect, the Great wall, is commented as outdated. These judgments are derived from western superiority and discriminating the inferior Asian culture.

III.4 Catholic Encyclopedia 1907-1914 edition. Article: Boxer Rebellion, Edited by Charles G. Herbermann and Edward A. Pace

III.4.1 Source (level of detail)
            It does have lengthy articles related to the Boxer Rebellion, because they were in direct threat from the Chinese Boxer Rebellion. The article focuses on the death of priests and the damage they have faced throughout the rebellion. It is accurate and precise in the field of religion, which the German encyclopedia lacked in. It listed numerous priests who were sacrificed or some who still continued to work for the churches in China. They explain the persecution that they experienced throughout the Rebellion and the relationship with the Chinese natives. It describes the expansion of the Christianity even after the rebellion, which was difficult from beginning to end.

III.4.2 Objectivity & Racism
            Being a Catholic related encyclopedia, it praises the Catholicism and emphasizes the hardships in China. This mission suffered greatly during the Boxer Rebellion. It definitely pointed out the hardships that the Catholic missionaries had to experience, such as death, starvation, and execution (17). The two beautiful cemeteries of the Jesuits outside the walls of Peking, one Portuguese, the other French, were destroyed by the boxers in 1900 (18). This statement clearly shows a biased point of view by describing its cemeteries as beautiful and pities the destruction caused by the Boxers. Therefore, the encyclopedia tries to convey an image that the Chinese have caused lots of problems for the Catholic missionaries staying there
            Because this was a religious encyclopedia, it did not show any kind of discrimination to the Chinese. The Catholics believed all their believers are equal so there was no difference between the Chinese and the Westerners

III.5 Britannica 1911 edition, Article China. Edited by Hugh Chisholm and Franklin Hooper

III.5.1 Source (level of detail)
            In part of the Boxer Rebellion, Britannica does not have an independent article that deals with the Boxer Rebellion. India was in direct control over Britain, but China took a role as a huge market for source for raw materials and cheap labor. Even though Britain did took part to settle this rebellion, Britain took more concern in India, and relatively cared less to the Boxer uprising. During the early 1900s, Britain had more problems at hand in India compared to China. Only one article was found, which was related to missionary works in China. It only briefly explains what the Boxer Rebellion was. Native Christians were stigmatized as traitors, "followers of the foreign devils." (19). This statement shows that the Britannica did have fundamental source of information of that situation in China. It also has specific statistical data of missionaries, native Christians, and children who died in this rebellion.
            It has more on the aftermath of the Boxer rebellion. It describes the agony that China went through, such as increased orphanage, the demolition of the Chinese land and population, and realization of the impotence of the Chinese government. It further describes the educational reform by European forces and lists quite a few names. This shows that Britannica focused on the western influence in China and emphasizes the bright side of their work, such as reforming the Chinese and making them live in a better place. This point can be exceptionally seen in this article because it was searched as the term ¡°mission¡±.
            In the last part of the section, it describes the relationship of the missionaries and the Boxer rebellion. The Boxer Rebellion indeed decreased the influence of the Catholic priests working there to baptize The Anglican bishops agreed to decline authority over China, as also did the heads of other Protestant missions (20). This shows that the bishops knew the serious situation in China which could cause death of their lives and continued their baptizing in a more careful and steady way by helping the needy of China. In conclusion, it puts the Catholic believers and the missionaries on the bright spot light and would be treated with sympathy for their hard work.

III.5.2 Objectivity & Racism
            Because the term used to search for the Boxer Rebellion was ¡°missionary in China¡±, it had a pro-Catholicism in the whole article. 135 missionaries, besides 52 children and perhaps 16,000 native Christians, whose heroism will always be memorable, perished, often after horrible tortures (21). This shows that the article is giving sympathy to the readers and praising the people who were sacrificed through the Boxer Rebellion. Also, it puts China as the enemy who killed the innocent Catholics and could justifies the Catholics baptizing in China. "There is little doubt that this savage outburst was directed not against religious teaching as such, but against the introduction of customs and ideas which tended to weaken the old power of the mandarins over the people." (22). The term ¡°savage outburst¡± definitely shows the hatred toward the Chinese rebellion and only perceives this movement as a outburst which killed Catholics. For Chinese people, this movement was the only way to get rid of the foreign powers in their situation. Therefore all the information in Britannica showed great favor towards the Catholics living in China and opposite feelings toward the rebels of China.
            Throughout the article, it does have a tone which mocks the Chinese for its misdeeds, killing the innocent Catholics and foreigners living in China without a reason. The growing power of Japan, seen in her wars with China and Russia, and the impotence of the Boxers against the European allies, made all classes in China realize their comparative impotence, and the central government began a series of reforms, reorganizing the military, educational, fiscal and political systems on Western lines (23). This statement clearly shows that once a world dominating country China became weaker than Japan and turned into a country for colonization. The British explains China in a way that it should be taken care by the Western forces by military, education, and political reform. Or else, China would not stand a chance against the rising nations such as Russia or Japan. Therefore, this kind of tone and attitude can be interpreted as western supremacy over China and highlighting the inferiority of China as much as possible.

III.6 Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930, Article: China (in Danish), Edited by Christian Blangstrup

III.6.1 Source (level of detail)
            The Danish encyclopedia does not have the Boxer Rebellion separately as an independent article. However, there is a short and brief explanation about the rebellion in part of the term ¡°China¡±. It basically defines what the Boxer rebellion is. It uses the term uprising rather than rebellion, similar to Britannica. The term uprising has a connotation that this anti-foreign movement was not a big deal. A rebellion sounds more like a bigger term than an uprising. Also, the article simply explains the procedure of the rebellion, and the goal of the harmonious group, which eventually failed due to foreign forces. It stated which country was involved to end this movement and the consequence which the Chinese government had to pay afterwards. Therefore, it only explained basic structure, the bones, of the Boxer Uprising.

III.6.2 Objectivity & Racism
            Denmark being a western country in Europe, it explains the rebellion slightly in favor for the western countries. Boxer uprising was a rebellion against Western political and commercial influence in China, which began in 1898 (24). This statement prefers the term uprising rather than rebellion and explains China ¡°rebelling¡± to the western countries. However, China had its own independent government during this time period. Then the term ¡°rebel¡± is not appropriate. The correct term would be the Boxer war or the Boxer battle, which expresses China¡¯s sovereignty. However, as Britannica, Denmark also interprets China as the one rebelling to the western forces. However, compared to Britannica, it is relatively objective with this incident. It did not elaborate only on one specific subject, but the overall conclusion of this event.
            As stated above, Denmark slightly mocks the Chinese¡¯s impotence against any other foreign force. However, it is quite impossible to expect a pro-Chinese or even a neutral explanation of the Boxer uprising. Putting this assumption, Denmark did its job as trying its best to perceive this rebellion as neutral as possible.

IV. Conclusion
            Researching through these five encyclopedias, it was surprising to see different kinds of aspect for a single topic. As mentioned, each encyclopedia has its own viewpoint, often coinciding with a ¡°national¡± viewpoint. It usually was biased towards its related nation or religion and tried to have neutral facts as well as personal or subjective opinions that might influence the readers.
            Each encyclopedia had different view point because of the different sources it used to write the articles. The Jewish Encyclopedia attained its source from the inhabitants all around the world. That is why the encyclopedia has lots of biographies of its people. Meyers attained its sources mainly from the military. The data of the Boxer Rebellion was based on the statistics related to warfare. The Catholic Encyclopedia was based on the information that the missionaries collected throughout the world. The data was mainly related to churches and the priest working in China. Britannica used sources from the generals or the soldiers who participated in the battles. Similar to Meyers, the data are mostly related to the military, and its achievements. Both of them were mainly about the battles and the tactics they fought so it had to be the ones who experienced the war. Salmonsens Encyclopedia used sources from other western countries information, such as Britain, France, and Germany. It used similar information that these countries had, but more in objective terms. The entire encyclopedia did not interpret any sources from the natives, the Chinese and the Indians. Therefore the minorities¡¯ opinions were not used as sources.
            The Sepoy Rebellion was most thoroughly examined by Britannica. British indeed had direct relation to the Sepoy Rebellion, because India was its one of the biggest colony in that time. The British elaborated their victory and justified the total domination of India in a positive view point. The Danish and the German encyclopedia, even though it did not have much information than Britain, explained the Sepoy Rebellion in their own taste. The Danish article slightly disregarded the ¡°domination¡± of England but overall praised the Queen and the power of Britain. The German article was relatively objective and unbiased compared to the other two. The two religious encyclopedias did not touch much about this subject because it had to religious meanings or relationship whatsoever.
            Second, the Boxer Rebellion was most thoroughly examined by German Meyers Konversationslexikon. It had long articles about Germans¡¯ role during the Boxer Rebellion. Most were related to military issues and the method of persecuting the rebels. It also explained in depth the international relationship Germany was in such as describing the situation with China, Britain, Japan, and Russia. The Britannica also had quite a few data but not an independent article for the Boxer Rebellion. Britannica also focused on the missionaries in China who were suffering great casualties from the rebellion. It did discriminate the Chinese by calling them ¡°savage¡± and condemned them for cruel but weak military forces. On the other hand, the Danish article tried to perceive this situation as neutral as possible but still interprets negatively because it was a great damage to the western missionaries. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains the religious situations in depth and further elaborates on by interweaving the social situation to its Catholic missionaries¡¯ goals and duty. However, the Jewish Encyclopedia once again does not have any information about this rebellion, because the Jews were not related to this matter.
            Overall, there were omissions and different level of coverage in these encyclopedias. The common omission was the view point of the natives, such as the Chinese rebels, or the sepoy soldiers. Also, neutral stances were not considered, such as the civilians who did not truly participate in the rebellion. Other neighboring countries, such as south East Asia countries, or East Asia countries, such as Korea and Japan were not considered. The Meyers and Britannica did have emphasized their role in the Boxer Rebellion and the Sepoy Rebellion, and elaborated their victory over the natives. They have done so by putting emphasis on their military forces and the battles they have fought along the way. On the other hand, Salmonsens has a standard coverage of the rebellions because Denmark was not directly related to the topic. The Catholic Encyclopedia emphasized the Catholics persecution that they faced during the Boxer Rebellion and the Jewish had a standard, neutral coverage in both issues.
            Through this research, it was proven that the encyclopedias were biased in some way or the other. It could be done by praising its country or religion or vice versa, disrespecting the other by criticizing. The encyclopedias all tried to write about only their importance and did not truly interpret other minorities¡¯ opinions such as the Indians or the Chinese. Therefore, to have a perfect view on one subject, at least more than one encyclopedia is needed. The best could be around three which has a positive view point, a negative view point and a neutral view point. From interpreting various kinds of interpretations, fully developed understanding would be possible especially in a subject like history, which has a high possibility of being biased.

Notes (1)      Article: Indien, from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 edition (in German)
(2)      Times (of London) 1858, day not given, quoted after article : Indian Mutiny, from Britannica 1911 edition
(3)      Article: Indian Mutiny, from Britannica 1911 edition
(4)      Article: Indian Mutiny, from Britannica 1911 edition
(5)      Article: Indian Mutiny, from Britannica 1911 edition
(6)      Article: Indian Mutiny, from Britannica 1911 edition
(7)      Article: Indian Mutiny, from Britannica 1911 edition
(8)      Article: Indian Mutiny, from Britannica 1911 edition
(9)      Article: Indien, from Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930 (in Danish)
(10)      Article: Queen Victoria Alexandrine, from Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930 (in Danish)
(11)      Article: Indien, from Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930 (in Danish)
(12)      Article: Boxeraufstand, from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 edition (in German)
(13)      Article: China, from Meyer Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 edition (in German)
(14)      Article: China, from Meyer Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 edition (in German)
(15)      Article: China, from Meyer Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 edition (in German)
(16)      Article: China, from Meyer Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 edition (in German)
(17)      Article: The Church in China, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
(18)      Article: The Martyrs in China, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
(19)      Article: Missionary in China, from Britannica 1911 edition
(20)      Article: Missionary in China, from Britannica 1911 edition
(21)      Article: Missionary in China, from Britannica 1911 edition
(22)      Article: Missionary in China, from Britannica 1911 edition
(23)      Article: Missionary in China, from Britannica 1911 edition
(24)      Article: China, from Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930 (in Danish)

Bibliography Note : websites quoted below were visited in June 2009.

Primary Sources

1.      Article: Indian Mutiny, from Britannica 1911 edition, Edited by Hugh Chisholm and Franklin Hooper,
2.      Article: Mission, from Britannica 1911 edition, Edited by Hugh Chisholm and Franklin Hooper,
3.      Article: Indien, from Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930 (in Danish), Edited by Christian Blangstrup,
4.      Article: Victoria, from Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930 (in Danish), Edited by Christian Blangstrup,
5.      Article: Mumm von Schwarzenstein, from Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon 1915-1930 (in Danish), Edited by Christian Blangstrup,
6.      Article: Boxeraufstand, from Meyer Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 (in German), Edited by Joseph Meyer,
7.      Article: China, from Meyer Konversationslexikon, 1902-1909 (in German), Edited by Joseph Meyer,
8.      Article: Boxer Rebellion, from Meyer Konversationslexikon 1902-1909 (in German) Edited by Joseph Meyer,
9.      Article: India, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, Edited by Charles G. Herbermann and Edward A. Pace ,
10.      Article: The Church in China, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, Edited by Charles G. Herbermann and Edward A. Pace ,
11.     Article: Article : Martyrs in China, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, Edited by Charles G. Herbermann and Edward A. Pace ,
12.      Article: Ghosalker, Solomon Daniel, Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906 edition, published by Funks and Wagnalls
13.      Article: Khurilkar, Joseph Daniel, Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906 edition, published by Funks and Wagnalls
14.      Article: Bapugee, Haskel, Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906 edition, published by Funks and Wagnalls
15.      Article: China, Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906 edition, published by Funks and Wagnalls
16.      Article: Ostindien, from Meyer Konversationslexikon 1902-1909 (in German) Edited by Joseph Meyer,

Secondary Sources

20.      Article: Sepoy Rebellion, from Wikipedia
21.      Article Boxer Rebellion, from Wikipedia

Back to WHKMLA Main Index . WHKMLA, Students' Papers Main Page . WHKMLA, Students' Papers, 12th Wave Index Page

Impressum · Datenschutz