Lesson Plan

Lesson 4: Imperialism and the Open Door

John Hay by John Singer Sargent
Photo caption

Portrait of John Hay by John Singer Sargent.

In 1899 and 1900, Secretary of State John Hay issued what became known as the Open Door Notes to foreign powers involved in China. Secretary Hay called on those powers to respect the rights of each other, to agree to an open market and equal trading opportunities for merchants of all nationalities, and to respect the territorial and administrative integrity of China. The Open Door Notes were an important step in the process by which the United States emerged as a global power and developed a distinctive and expansive set of interests in East Asia. In this lesson, students will explore the impact of these notes on both America and foreign countries.

Guiding Questions

What purpose did the Open Door Notes serve for American Foreign Policy?

Learning Objectives

Analyze the short-term successes and failures of the Open Door Notes.

Predict how the Open Door Notes will affect U.S. foreign policy into the 20th century.