Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

F14, F51, F54, N82

Key Words

American Colonialism, Chinese History, Opium Trade


This inquiry seeks to establish that American merchants exacerbated China’s 19th century opium epidemic. Circumventing Britain’s monopoly of Indian opium, three men, Thomas Perkins, John Cushing, and Robert Forbes, played a key role in American consolidation of Turkish opium production. With malice and blatant disregard, numerous Americans pumped tens of thousands of chests of opium into China, creating fabulous riches and incredibly influential familial dynasties while simultaneously destroying the minds and bodies of an untold number of Chinese.


© Karson M. Pence

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