The subject of this essay—better so labeled than as a research paper—is too broad to permit more than a sweeping as well as selective treatment in the short space of a journal article. It may nevertheless be worth presenting in those terms, painting with an overly broad brush on too large a canvas perhaps, but attempting through its scope to relate as parts of a common phenomenon events and patterns in separate areas. Such an effort may help to throw light on an aspect of the grand design of European colonialism in Asia and on some of its consequences. These were different in each area and some of the differences, notably between China and the rest of Asia, may be instructive as they can help us better to understand idiosyncratic aspects of the diverse history of modern Asia. But the similarities in events, patterns, and consequences which such a gross comparison can also illustrate may be equally instructive, and often overlooked. India's modern history and China's, Japan's, and Southeast Asia's, are for good reasons commonly examined separately by separate specialists. Many politically conscious Asians of the colonial or semi-colonial period, and most of the colonialists themselves, did not see Asia that way but more nearly as a single system, for all its regional variety, on which the overt and implicit force of the modern West as an alien system was attempting to impinge.

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