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Lecture 13

History 1810E The Vietnam War - Lecture 13.docx

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History 1810E
Margaret Mc Glynn

History 1810E The Vietnam War Monday February 24 Lecture 13 Revolutionary Origins Outline: I. Paris, 1919 a. Nguyen Ai Quoc II. Colonial Indochina III. Early Resistance a. Can Vuong b. Phan Chu Trinh c. Phan Boi Chau Paris, 1919 • The Peace Conference was held to resolve some of the issues of the war (how to put the world back together) • Nguyen Ai Quoc wanted to go to the Versailles Conference to meet with American president, Woodrow Wilson o Woodrow Wilson argued for the principal of national self-determination (where people would determine what type of government they should live under) o Nguyen Ai Quoc wanted Woodrow Wilson to tell France that Vietnam wanted its independence from the French Empire • Nguyen Ai Quoc put together a petition, “The demands of the Vietnamese people”, which had 8 demands that the Vietnamese had of the French o Included Vietnamese representation in the French Parliament (they wanted their voice heard) o They wanted Freedom of the Press (be able to talk publicly about the issues they had) o The right to Free Association (ability to meet and talk with one another about their grievances toward the French) o Freedom of Immigration and Foreign Travel (be able to leave Vietnam like the French were able to do to travel and see the world) o They wanted the French to establish the Rule of Law rather than Rule by Decree (they didn’t want to be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment)  This is the idea that one law would apply to everyone in Vietnam • Nguyen Ai Quoc wasn’t able to reach Wilson (he probably didn’t even know Ai Quoc was trying to reach him) Colonial Indochina • Indochina had established a trade presence in the East • In 1862, they started their conquest of Southeast Asia • By 1864, they had taken over all of southern Vietnam • Emperor Tu Duc (the Vietnamese Emperor) initially let the French in because he was distracted by a rebellion in Vietnam o He thought that if he allowed the French in, it would give him the opportunity to buy some time to deal with the rebellion • The French established too much of a presence and by the time the Emperor could do anything about them, it was too late (they were settled and didn’t intend to leave) • Vietnam was upset about how the Emperor was handling this (they thought he should be dealing with the French presence), so they started to rebel • Emperor Tu Duc saw the French were superior to the Vietnamese, and if his own people caused too many problems, it could hurt relations with the French o He used his own forces to put these rebels down, but it only damaged the Vietnamese monarchy in the eyes of the rebels (the Emperor was putting the Vietnamese down and not the French) • By 1884, his successor signed a treaty with the French making Vietnam and surrounding territory French territory • Once the French had their treaty, they divided up Vietnam into colonies o This meant that Cochinchina was French soil (as much a part of France as Paris was) o The Northern parts of Vietnam became protectorates (also part of France) • The French saw this as a Civilizing Mission (a way of justifying taking parts of Vietnam into French colonies) o This was to bring the benefits of French culture, language, and religion to the people of the world (to help lift them up and civilize “backward” people) o This came from ideas that came out of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment o The French believed it was their duty to bring out this common liberty and equality to the rest of the world through their colonies (they brought their education and culture to mould the people into French citizens)  However, they could never achieve the equality of French citizens o In order to embrace French culture, religion, and language, they had to renounce their own culture, religion, and language • The biggest impact was on the Vietnamese village, the essence of their way of life o The village was autonomous, subject to the Imperial court (they had the freedom to do what they wanted, but had to pay taxes to the court) o It was a social safety net for the people (it allocated some of the land to the poor and rented the remaining land to those who could afford it) o The economy was based on a system of barter and exchange (a local system of economic exchange) • All of this changed when the French arrived – they incorporated Vietnam into the French economic system and the Vietnamese village changed • The French would take raw materials from Vietnam and sell them back to France • All of the villages were responsible to the center (no longer autonomous) • The land was the property of an international corporation o eg. Michelin used the rubber from Vietnam to make rubber • They established a top-heavy administration (that reached down to the village structure so they could oversee the village) • The economy based on barter and exchange was ended, and they used a currency based on international exchange (you would sell goods for a currency) • They built modern infrastructure on the backs of the Vietnamese people • To ensure that people adhered to their new regulations, they imposed a penal system o They built prisons throughout the country, particularly on the islands o They separated potential and proven political agitators and took them in the jails Early Resistance • The French faced resistance right away, but the first movement came in 1885 • Emperor Ham Nghi: T
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