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Shanghai's Gangs in the Early 20th Century

China was a dangerous place in the early 20th century, especially if you were Chinese. Warlords controlled large swaths of territory, the country was in an almost constant state of civil war, and banditry was commonplace. If you happened to be European or Japanese, you benefited from extraterritoriality treaties that essentially made you immune to any Chinese judicial rulings, which meant that you could commit almost any crime within China’s borders and face little to no punishment for it. Many Chinese cities had places referred to as “concessions,” which were districts or pieces of land given to European governments or the Japanese for their own colonial administrations to control, police,

Critiquing American Progress Under the Lens of Decolonization

John Gast's’ painting, American Progress is symbolic of the prevalent early American theme of manifest destiny. Manifest destiny was a term used to define what white Americans sought to do: bring civilization to the west. Thus, John Gast is perpetuating the idea that the west is not civilized, and that it is the duty of the white Americans to civilize the west like they did with the rest of the United States through colonization and the conquering of Native lands. John Gast understands the theme of the painting to be that the West is in desperate need of white civilization. The disposition of the western half of the painting shows the unruly and fearful Native Americans. Gast paints the Nat

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