Front Page Titles (by Subject) Pietistic vs. Pragmatic Foreign Policy - Literature of Liberty, October/December 1979, vol. 2, No. 4
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Pietistic vs. Pragmatic Foreign Policy - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, October/December 1979, vol. 2, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Pietistic vs. Pragmatic Foreign Policy
“American Missionaries, Sun Yat-sen and the Chinese Revolution,” Pacific Historical Review 47(May 1978):261–282.
American understanding of Chinese political changes during the years 1911 to 1925 was largely shaped by American Christian missionaries working in China. Their reports and assessments of the principal Chinese leaders during the revolutionary period circulated freely through the popular press and supplied information which helped mold American foreign policy in the Far East. After the election of the pietistic Woodrow Wilson, the American missionary contingent in China was the most influential force behind official attitudes towards the new republic. Their counsel was sought and they filled important official and unofficial positions in the United States government.
Christian missionaries performed the crucial foreign policy role of on-the-spot observers. At the outset of the revolution in 1911, the missionary community looked favorably on nationalist leader Sun Yatsen. He possessed the seemingly impeccable credentials of mission-school education, the Christian faith, and familiar, western ideas. Following the establishment of the Nanking government, American missionaries looked more favorably on Yuan Shih-k'ai. Yuan's military background and his extensive familiarity with Chinese conditions (attributes lacking in the western-educated Sun) led the missionaries to view Yuan as a more credible leader, one who gave the greatest assurance of a return to social stability. Moreover, Sun's betrothal to a second wife and his support of socialist patterns further undermined his credibility with missionary leaders.
These assessments of the two contenders for leadership led the United States into the unfortunate position of supporting a government ultimately racked with suspicions that Yuan assassinated political opponents and used government money to subsidize his personal political power. By the end of the period the United States had become associated with a regime largely inimical to republican government in China.