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Silver: economic backbone of China Essay Sample

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Silver: economic backbone of China Essay Sample

Using the documents, analyze the social and economic effects of the global flow of silver from the mid-sixteenth century to the early eighteenth century. Example 1 The flow of silver, economically and socially, was fueled by greed. Traders from countries like China and Portugal would come back from major silver mines with only silver nothing else. In the Ming dynasty in China, the government wanted silver so much that taxes were to be paid with it. This greed ruined countries like Spain around 1570, and brought economic decline in China around 1593.

In document 2, de Mercado spoke of silver currency leaving Spain to pay for Asian commodities. In China, court official Wang Xijue (doc 3), reveals that although the national government wants taxes to be paid in silver, they dont disburse enough silver and now prices of crops have dropped. But the government isnt the only face of greed. A county official in document 1 states that a poor man with only 1 bar of silver is well enough but an extravagant man can never have enough. Portuguese and Chinese traders leave from China with silks, perfumes, and porcelain to go to Japan or the Philippines and return with nothing but silver (doc 4 and 7).

In fact, the Portuguese have a ship that goes to Japan every year that brings back more than 600,000 coins of Japanese silver. In document 6, de Espinosa remarks on the greed of Spanish merchants. He tells about the 326,000,000 silver coins taken from mines in Potosi, and about the large amount of silver being smuggled out to avoid taxes and registry fees to places China and the Philippines. European traders take the silver to China as well as gold in exchange for materials to supply luxury.

They admit in document 8 that this is the only thing of solid worth they get from Asia. Silver was an important part of the economy but only because of greed and luxury. Governments wanted silver so bad it became the main currency. Silver was smuggled out of mines to avoid taxes. Suppliers of silver were exploited by their consumers need for silver. Example 2 The social and economic effects of the global flow of silver from the mid-sixteenth century all the way to the early eighteenth century had many diverse and special affects worldwide.

Silver was the economic backbone of China, and was the main source of commodity money used, and with the rich black flint ore found at Potosi, 326 million silver coins have been taken out according to the Spanish royal records. Silver the currency used in China, and was very valuable among the Chinese and Japanese people alike, and it fluctuated in the markets. In fact, the Portuguese went to Japan just to acquire silver coins, and from there, they would take those silver coins to China and bring back Chinese gold, perfumes, copper, porcelain, and many other luxury goods the Portuguese used silver to its advantage in China.

Ye Chunji, a county official during the Ming dynasty, which was when Silver reached its apex in China, said, the frugal man with only one bar of silver currency can have something left over, whereas the extravagant man with a thousand can still not have enough. This statement means that silver was valuable and worth enough for a man to have something left over after using one bar of silver, but silver cannot buy everything if you want an extravagant and a profligate life. Later on, the Ming dynasty began disbursing little of the precious metal, but required it for its national taxes.

As a result, the prices of certain items, especially grains, had sharply decreased. So the fluctuation of silver was prominent in the Chinese society. In Spain, there was a different scenario gong on it was being flogged by high prices. But the Asian market and its prices were very attractive to them, especially since they had a plethora of silver from there silver sources in the West Indies and the silver mountains which they minted into coins. So they were able to receive many of the luxuries of the Asians. Silver was just a metal to them, but the luxuries that silver and gold could offer them were astounding.

To conclude, silver was an important and valuable part of the society because of its use as commodity money throughout the world. The effects of this trade or silver and spices were socially and economically beneficial in favor to the Europeans. Example 3 Silver had a global effect from the mid-sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. Silver, at the time, was a level of status in the Ming Dynasty and it was also the only form of currency at a time. Silver also ruined Spain because it had to pay silver for Asian commodities. Ships that went to Japan sometimes only came back with silver.

The Spanish had enslaved the Indians of the Americas and forced them to work in the Spanish silver mines. Silver played a big role in the way the people of the world lived. Ming Dynasty inhabitants had to pay all their debts and taxes in the form of silver, which they received from the moneylender. Silver was also used as a level of status. The country official named Ye Chunji Stated that a frugal man can hold a wedding with one Bar of silver and still have some left over, whereas the extravagant man with a thousand can still not have enough.

The article mentions that countries like Portugal trade Chinese gold, perfume, copper, porcelain, and other luxury goods and bring back nothing but silver. Example 4 In the 1570s Chinese government demanded that all domestic taxes and fees must be paid in silver. Ever since this became law, the social and economic lives of others had become increasingly difficult. Since Chinese goods were in high demand (and could only be bought with silver) the social life of some people were crippled and an economic standstill occurred as nations could only pay China with the rare and valuable metal silver.

Social life had become crippled as many people lost money or were charged large fines that could not be paid. According to document three the home district of Wang Xihjue(who was a Ming Dynasty court official) had suffered from a decrease in the price of grain. As the silver coin became more popular and items could no longer be paid with rice Wang Xihjue as with many others, received less income for their labor. This in turn made it more difficult for them to put more land into cultivation, reducing the amount of grain available. In document six, 3000 Indians worked aimlessly in Spanish mines digging for ore.

Since the Indians were a cheap labor force, Spain could pay China more silver allowing them to acquire more goods like silk and pottery from China. Economy stood at a stand still for most countries as China gained the most wealth from silver. China demanded only silver in exchange for goods. Since silver at this time was in high demand and showed a countrys wealth, many countries fell subject to loss of economic power. According to an English scholar in document eight, Europe draws nothing from China except perishable good, but sends to Asia gold and silver which never returned.

As the flow of silver is globally stunted and focused around Asia, many countries could not claim wealth but send it to Asia to aid others. Document one displays the greed of the Chinese government and how they crave silver. This craving of silver socially and economically made the lives of people and many nations difficult, forcing governments to take extreme action as they put Indians to work and hurting the average community as the price of rice greatly decreased. Nations lost wealth, and were put at an economic standstill that China stood on top of.

A document showing the amount of silver available to all major nations would help in picturing the loss of many great states. Example 5 The global flow of silver from the mid sixteenth century to the early eighteenth century had social and economic effects on the world. The economic effects was that it changed the currency of many countries and their people and the social effects of the global flow of silver was that it brought different luxuries were brought to different parts of the world. When the global flow of silver rose up in the 16th to the 18th century the currency of many countries were changed and the economy became much different.

Because of the Ming Chinese government requiring all domestic taxes and trade fees in silver, many farmers became poor, as Wang Xijue, a Ming dynasty court official said As the price of grain falls, tillers of the soil receive lower returns on their labors, and thus less land is put into cultivation. (Doc. 3). People used to be able to pay with almost anything like with rice, wheat, soybeans, chickens, or other fowl but when you have your cloth dyed you receive a bill, which must be paid with silver obtained from a moneylender. (Doc. 5).

Also when countries traded their goods with each other, one country would get the goods the other country produced while the other got silver. An example of this was when He Qiaoyuan said, they trade the goods we producethey only return with silver coins. (Doc. 7) Another example of this happening between two countries was when Charles DAvenant said sends to Asia gold and silver, which is there buried and never returns. (Doc. 8. ) The global flow of silver also affected the world socially as the luxuries of one country were being made available to the rest of the world.

Ralph Fitch, a British merchant, talks about the Portuguese bring from China gold perfume, silk, copper, porcelain, and other luxury good. (Doc. 4)  As Ive said in class, most of the DBQs I read in Colorado last year scored no more than two of the possible nine points. Overwhelmingly, the points getting earned were for thesis and grouping. Very, very few students were earning points for using all the documents, evaluating point of view (POV) and explaining the need for additional documents. This is where you can separate yourself from the pack.

Good examples of evaluating POV Remember as with any part of your essay to explain your rationale when assessing POV. It is NOT enough to write something like this Ralph Fitch (D4) is biased because hes British. You must point out something of significance that a historian might note in analyzing the document. He Qiaoyuan (D7) writes to the emperor that the trade ban should be lifted because Chinese goods are attracting very high prices, but his motives may be in question since the very goods that are most profitable are coming from his own province.

His position on the trade ban, therefore, could reflect his own opportunity to personally profit. Ye Chungji (D1) offers moral guidance on the importance of being frugal, and his words come in an order limiting wedding expenses, which suggests a poor economic climate. As a county official, he would have arrived at his position through the civil service system and been well-versed in Confucian texts, and his words reflect that moral outlook.

Good examples of explaining the need for additional documents Again, its NOT enough to identify a possible document It would be helpful to have a document from a female perspective because all of the ones here are from men. Now carry the thought/explanation to the next level A female perspective might be useful because it could show (Minimally acceptable) It would be good to see a document directly from a Chinese peasant farmer to see if the flow of silver affected their lifestyles as much as Documents 1, 3 and 5 seem to suggest.

(Minimally acceptable) A document from a Japanese merchant would help in analyzing whether the effects of the silver trade affected the Japanese economy as much as it did the Chinese and Spanish economies. (More sophisticated analysis) The documents in evidence suggest a worsening economic climate for ordinary Chinese peasants. None sheds light on women, however, so its impossible to assess whether the flow of silver had the same or different effects on Chinese men and women. One wonders, for example, if the tougher economy led to a hardening of patriarchy.

A government record or court document showing an upswing in crimes against women, for example, might suggest a differential social effect on Chinese women. A provocative thesis, but you cant defend it based solely on the documents. Its too all-encompassing. And its judgmental historians dont like to make such sweeping statements. In this graph youre mentioning documents 1-3 but you arent grouping them. For instance, Doc. 1 could be grouped with Doc. 3 because they reveal something about the economic and social effects of Chinas silver policy (and could further be grouped with Doc. 5 and Doc. 7 because theyre all from Chinese sources).

You need to see the connection between the fact that tillers of the soil receive lower returns on their labors (Doc. 3) and the reason behind the order issued to limit wedding expenses (Doc. 1). In other words, you only describe or paraphrase what they say. You must analyze them. If youre interpreting his words as commentary about the greedy nature of the whole thing, you must explain why . because he never uses the word greed. Instead, you might have used your prior knowledge about the labor systems employed in the Americas and said something about the highly negative social consequences for the natives in New Spain.

You havent explained the need for additional documents, and you havent accounted for the POVs of the sources. This alone isnt sufficient for the thesis statement. But the two sentences in the final graph may get you the thesis point (though at least one document doesnt support your interpretation that Europeans (Spanish lower classes) ultimately benefited from the global flow of silver. Here you should insert after his name (Doc. 1). This is a good phrase dont just describe or paraphrase the documents (and dont directly quote more than a few words) but analyze them.

Your interpretation of this document should have hinged on the source line explanation that his comments came from an order issued to limit wedding expenses and that should have set off alarm bells about the social effects you were asked to analyze. Why would a county official order Chinese peasants to limit wedding expenses Your answer should emerge from further evidence found in Docs. 35. One of the most important things you must do with the DBQ is group the documents in order to see broad patterns that inform your analysis. You havent been grouping them.

Heres why you should always try to restate your thesis in the final graph. This may suffice, though one could argue with its defensibility. Had you put this in the first graph, you could then systematically defend it. Really, nothing in the essay should veer off this statement everything should be used to support it. Thats why zeroing in on a good thesis statement is critical to the overall essay It prevents rambling, off-topic points. Theres no thesis in this first graph. This sentence is followed by several more that are mere factual statements, and you dont tie them together cohesively.

If you intended this first sentence to be your thesis statement, you need to state what kind of effect remember you must account for social and economic effects and give some indication of how youre going to back up your claim. As is, it amounts to a common error stating that something had a big effect or led to major changes. Need to be more specific. For the most part, you arent referring to the individual documents or grouping them in an analytical way. Therefore, what Provide your analysis dont merely describe what the documents say. Who are the others Be more specific.

I dont understand this cause-and-effect. Also, be sure you can back up a statement like crippled. Evidence has to be reasonably extracted from the documents. For example, Doc. 1 is about limiting wedding expenses in China is that crippling This is fundamentally inaccurate in that silver greased the global economic engine at this time. It did lead to adverse economic effects for commoners across the globe, but standstill isnt the right characterization. If youre going to make an inference about social life from evidence about economic conditions, you must carefully explain your reasoning.

Dont make too abrupt a jump in logic. Let the documents talk to you. Social effects can be seen most easily in Doc. 1 (weddings) and Doc. 6 (labor systems). This really isnt historically accurate. At this time, Europe was on the ascent and the Ming dynasty was in decline, beset by famine and an inability to avoid its imminent demise to the subsequent Qing. Are there other explanations for Chinas monetary policy other than greed Thats a highly judgmental term you should probably avoid. Good attempt at suggesting an additional document, but indicate what kind of document (government record, diary entry, etc.

) and briefly explain why it would be helpful. Im not really sure what picturing the loss of many great states means. Also, one of the easiest points to make is assessing point of view. You havent done that, so theres no point for that. I think this would get credit for the thesis statement point. But the economic effect of changing the currency doesnt leave much space for elaboration and doesnt account for the abundance of material showing adverse economic effects so your thesis should probably involve that.

Here, for example, youre talking about a negative economic consequence but theoretically nothing in your supporting paragraphs should detail anything other than whats in your thesis. This observation about luxury items fitting into a social framework is nice. That didnt occur to me as I read through the documents initially. But read Doc. 4 and Doc. 8 together and you should get a sense that the Brits are making the case that they should continue pursuing a mercantilist approach to trade the competitive theory based on a favorable balance of trade with other countries.

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