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Lesson Plans - Bound for Salem: An Examination of Documents Relating to the Voyage of the Ship Mount Vernon, from Salem to Copenhagen and Back, 1803

NAME OF LESSON: Bound for Salem: An Examination of Documents Relating to the Voyage of the Ship Mount Vernon, from Salem to Copenhagen and Back, 1803
GRADE(S) DESIGNED FOR: 8 (can be adapted for grades 5 or 10)
TIME REQUIRED:

Two or three 45-minute class periods plus additional time for preparation

NAME OF AUTHOR:

Rebecca Zimmerman                 
PRIMARY SALEM in History CORE THEME ADDRESSED:

An Industrious People: American Economic History

ADDITIONAL SALEM in History CORE THEME(S) ADDRESSED:  
SALEM in History Topic Addressed:

Building Wealth Through the China and East Indies Trade

Lesson Summary | Frameworks | Essential Question(s) | Lesson Objectives
Historical Background Essay | Materials List and Pre-Arrangements/Preparations Needed
Vocabulary | Lesson Activities | Student Product or Performance
Assessment Criteria | Possible Modifications | Possible Extension Activities
Cross Curricular/Interdisciplinary Links/Activities | Sources and Resources
Additional Resources for Students and Teachers


LESSON SUMMARY:

This lesson is used as the culmination of a short study of the East Indies Trade as it applies to Salem, Massachusetts. It asks students to examine documents that relate to sailors’ and merchants’ experiences and then use their imaginations and the information they have gleaned from their analysis to create written pieces that indicate their understanding of the topic in both a local sense and in the context of national historical significance. They will be asked to take on the persona of one of the sailors, the ship’s captain, the ship’s owner or one of the merchants involved in the venture of the Mount Vernon and write a letter to a neighbor in Salem including information about the cargo, journey, and expectations of the trading experience.

In previous lessons students will have examined a composite map of 1780’s Salem based on the findings of a local historian to gain information about the set up of the city, the occupations of residents, and the gender of homeowners. They will use the names provided on the map to identify a neighbor to whom the letter in the main lesson is addressed. They will also have analyzed various charts of American goods both imported to and exported from Salem in 1803, and used maps to identify the locations of ports in trade with Salem.

The curriculum unit, Early American Trade with China, developed by Roberta Kugell Gumport and Marcella M. Smith, as a website for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a good comprehensive lead-in to a study of the China-East Indies trade. The lessons included in this unit, particularly the Trade Routes and Trading Strategies, Contrasting Views of Trade, and Life on a Merchant Ship, are especially useful to introduce students to the notion of mercantilism, and sailors’ experiences in the late 18th and early 19th century. (See annotated bibliography for more information.)

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PRIMARY SOURCES USED in LESSON:

Certificate of Registry #24 for the Ship Mount Vernon, 1803, Records of Certificates of Vessel Registry, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

Outward Entry of Goods Entitled to Drawback, Ship Mount Vernon, June 2, 1803; Entries of Goods for Drawback, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration– Northeast Region (Boston).

Outward Foreign Manifest for the Ship Mount Vernon, June 4, 1803, Manifests, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

Crew List for the Ship Mount Vernon, June 4, 1803, Crew Lists, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

Consignee Certificate for cargo on the Ship, Mount Vernon, July 20, 1803, Consignee Certificates, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

Inward Foreign Manifest for the Ship Mount Vernon, nd [1803], Manifests, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36, National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

The above sources may be viewed on-line at: "Records of a Salem Vessel in 1803: An Online Exhibit" http://www.archives.gov/northeast/boston/exhibits/mount-vernon/
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ESSENTIAL QUESTION(S):

  • How did Salem function as a major trading port in the late 18th/early 19th century?
  • How did the drawback system allow merchants to import and export goods for greater profit than if they had simply traded locally?
  • What types of goods were imported and exported through Salem? Where did they originate? Speculate on the reasons why certain goods were traded more successfully than others.
  • What was the make-up of a merchant ship’s crew? (How many people? What gender? What age? Where were they from?) How might the crew’s statistics be accounted for? How might those attributes affect the nature of trade in Salem?  
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LESSON OBJECTIVES

LEARNING/CONTENT OBJECTIVES:

Students will understand that Salem was a major trading port involved in global trade in the late 18th/early 19th century. They will examine a set of primary source documents relating to a ship and her journey (including a ship’s register, crew list, manifests, and other documents) and use the information gained to understand how Salem’s residents participated in the East Indies trade and beyond. This foundation of knowledge will help students fit Salem’s economic history into a national context. Following this lesson, they will understand the importance of the income derived through the customs service in the early years of our country and Salem’s role as a major producer of income for the new United States. They will recognize that the Revolutionary War created an atmosphere that enabled merchants to shift trade from the West Indies and Britain to a wider market, including the East Indies and Europe, and that the Embargo of 1807 and the War of 1812 curtailed that trade and caused a decline in commerce in Salem.

CONCEPT/SKILLS OBJECTIVES:

Students will analyze primary source documents outlined above to gain an understanding of the nature of a ship’s trading voyage to Europe. They will then use this knowledge to create a new document (letter) from the point of view of a person involved with that voyage. They will be able to place the letter in context, and include information about the crew, cargo, and voyage that will demonstrate the knowledge they have gained about the time period, Salem’s involvement with trade, and ships’ commercial voyages.      

 
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CORRELATION WITH HISTORY STANDARDS FROM the 2003 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK

MA FRAMEWORK STRAND:

US History I

MA FRAMEWORK UNIT/THEME ADDRESSED:

Economic Growth of the North and South, 1800-1860

MA FRAMEWORK LEARNING STANDARD(S) ADDRESSED:

USI.27 - Explain the importance of the Transportation Revolution of the 19th century (the building of canals, roads, bridges, turnpikes, steamboats, and railroads) including the stimulus it provided to the growth of a market economy.

MA FRAMEWORK CONCEPT AND SKILLS STANDARD(S) ADDRESSED

GRADE AND SUBJECT: Grade 8 History and Social Science

NUMBER(S) AND DESCRIPTION(S): 

History and Geography:

7. Show connections causal and otherwise between particular historical events and ideas and larger social, economic and political trends and developments.

General Economic Skills:

13. Define and use correctly mercantilism…economic growth and entrepreneur.

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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND/CONTEXT ESSAY: 

Immediately following the American Revolution, a new world of trade opened to the merchants of the fledgling nation. Previously New Englanders had been limited to trade with Britain and the nations she pre-approved, primarily the West Indies. Once that restriction was removed many merchants took advantage of their new freedom to use the privateers, which had served so well to raid the British fleet, to explore new and fertile trading opportunities. Salem merchants soon learned that the East Indies trade and specifically commerce with Canton and Sumatra could make them rich.(1) However often this trade was more complicated than simply traveling back and forth between two ports.

A complex web of routes developed that allowed merchants to provide supplies where demands were greatest. A system of “drawback” whereby merchants bought goods in one port not to be sold back at their home port, but rather to be re-shipped out again to a more lucrative market evolved. Salem ships traveled to a number of different ports all over the world.(2) Their ideas of the nature of trade evolved as well. A free market economy, which was government-approved and encouraged, quickly developed.  Much of the new nation’s income was derived from duties levied through the US Customs service. “In the early years of the nation, more than 90 percent of the Federal budget came from customs duties, and Salem’s merchants paid an average of 6 percent of the duties.”(3) Salem merchants were quick to take advantage of these markets.

The primary source materials which students will examine here deal not with the usual subject of Salem and the China trade, but rather with the secondary market of trade with other European nations, in this case specifically Denmark. As previously mentioned merchants used the system of drawback to collect goods which would bring higher profits in foreign ports rather than selling all their cargo at home. Students should also notice the relative youth and small size of the ship’s crew. Often crew members were not much older than some of the students who will examine the data.(4)

While this period in Salem’s history is relatively short, due to the Embargo of 1807 and the War of 1812 when the scale of commerce was seriously curtailed, by the early nineteenth century it was a significant one. Fortunes were made quickly and expansively. The first American millionaire, Elias Hasket Derby, made his money in Salem during this period. Several young sea captains and their families were able to rise quickly creating commercial dynasties.(5) Political factions of upper class mercantilist Federalists versus the working class, newly-risen Republicans crystallized at this time.(6) Much of Salem’s architectural singularity and character as a city derived from the influence of these new entrepreneurs. Salem in many ways epitomizes the growth of the new Republic at this time. Unleashed from ties with Britain, the new mercantile class sought to make a name for itself and insert a truly American flavor into its businesses. The success of the East Indies and secondary trade shored up the US economy while it also gave legitimacy and stature to the Salem merchants and sea captains.

______

1 National Park Service. SALEM: Maritime Salem in the Age of Sail. (Washington, D.C.: US Department of the Interior, 1987) 109.

2 Ibid, 109.

3 Ibid. 130-131.

4 Ibid. 61-86.

5 Ibid. 41-60.

6 Ibid. 127.

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MATERIALS LIST AND PRE-ARRANGEMENTS/PREPARATION NEEDED

MATERIALS LIST:

Primary Source materials (see bibliography for links to documents online):

Worksheets:

Map:

    • Composite Map of 1780s Salem (based on information from Perley, see bibliography)

PREPARATION:

In previous lessons students will have examined a composite map of 1780’s Salem based on the findings of a local historian to gain information about the set up of the city, the occupations of residents, and the gender of homeowners. They will use the names provided on the map to identify a crew member, ship’s captain and owner and then a neighbor to whom the letter in the main lesson is addressed.

They will also have analyzed various charts of American goods both imported to and exported from Salem in 1803, and used maps to identify the locations of ports in trade with Salem.

The curriculum unit, Early American Trade with China, developed by Roberta Kugell Gumport and Marcella M. Smith, as a website for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a good comprehensive lead-in to a study of the China-East Indies trade. The lessons included in this unit, particularly the Trade Routes and Trading Strategies, Contrasting Views of Trade, and Life on a Merchant Ship, are especially useful to introduce students to the notion of mercantilism in the late 18th and early 19th century. (see bibliography for more information)

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VOCABULARY:

Vocabulary central to the discussion of the nature of the trading in the early 19th century in Salem: mercantilism, economic growth, entrepreneur, drawback, customs, East Indies, embargo, privateer, duties

Vocabulary central to the specific primary source documents to be examined: diaper, duck, nankeen (types of cloth), drawback, hogsheads (unit of measure), manifest, bills of lading, consigned

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LESSON ACTIVITIES:

  • Students will be given a packet of primary source material relating to a voyage of the ship, Mount Vernon, to Copenhagen. In pairs they will be asked to use the worksheet to analyze the documents. Class discussion will debrief this section of the lesson.
  • Individually students will choose or be assigned a member of the Mount Vernon’s crew, ship’s captain, or owner of the vessel. From the 1780’s Salem map students will identify someone in the city of Salem to which a letter will be written. Students will then create a letter, which shows their understanding of the voyage taken, including information about the route, cargo, and crew. Furthermore students will exhibit understanding of the nature of Salem commerce as it relates to United States commerce of the same period.

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ASSESSMENT/STUDENT PRODUCT or PERFORMANCE:

Students will be assessed on their answers to the worksheet questions, both written and oral, and the final writing piece, which they will produce individually.

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ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:

Worksheet questions will be assessed on a point per question percentage basis. The writing piece will be assessed according to the points assigned for the focus correction areas (John Collins writing program model).

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POSSIBLE MODIFICATIONS:

 Possible modifications include but are not limited to:

  • Word-processed transcripts of the primary source material made available alongside the material from 1803.
  • Simplification of vocabulary and/or word banks
  • Adjustment of assessment criteria – i.e. tailoring focus correction areas to ensure greater success for students who struggle with writing, thereby allowing them to concentrate more closely on social studies’ content
  • Allowance for word processed or transcribed answers/writing piece for students who struggle with writing
  • Visual representations of assessment material – drawings rather than the “letter”

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POSSIBLE EXTENSION ACTIVITIES:

Students could develop a “portfolio” for their historical figure that included a map of the voyage, broadside advertising some of the cargo for sale (including information on place of origin), a letter back from the neighbor outlining activities in Salem of 1803 and asking relevant questions of the crew, a journal entry about one aspect of the voyage from another crew member’s point of view, etc. 

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CROSS CURRICULAR/INTERDISCIPLINARY LINKS/ACTIVITIES:

  • Math – Students could graph amounts of types of cargo from the Report and Manifest. Average age and/or height of crew members could be calculated from the Crew’s List. Relative values of cargo based on quantities vs. value could be calculated and compared using the Foreign Manifest Outwards. The length of the voyage and average distance gained per day could be determined. Much of this data could be interpreted in graph form for comparison and contrast. Furthermore it could be compared to contemporary data of a similar type.  
  • Geography – Students could construct maps of the voyage. Using the Outward Entry of Goods, students could indicate the countries of origin of each of the items in the cargo with a symbol for each item. Students could then calculate distances and routes that each item had taken. Students could research each item and find out why it became an important trade source for that country.
  • Music – During this time period sea shanties developed as entertainment for ship’s crews. While they are often associated with whaling ventures, they were sung on many vessels. Students could research songs of the period and either sing them or present them to classmates using electronic means. 

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SOURCES AND RESOURCES

PRIMARY SOURCES USED TO CREATE LESSON:

Certificate of Registry #24 for the Ship Mount Vernon, 1803, Records of Certificates of Vessel Registry, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

This document describes the newly built ship and gives information on its owners, master (captain), place and date of origin, and size. It is useful to place the ship in context of being a fairly average size. It is slightly bigger than the Friendship, of which there is a replica in the city of Salem.

Outward Entry of Goods Entitled to Drawback, Ship Mount Vernon, June 2, 1803; Entries of Goods for Drawback, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration– Northeast Region (Boston).

This document is a listing of items to be shipped on the Mount Vernon that have been brought in under the practice of “drawback”. Under this practice cargo is brought in from other locations and stored in a port until it is to be shipped out on another ship. In this case items from Surinam, Canton, Cape Francis, Guadeloupe, and Calcutta have been assembled to be shipped out to Copenhagen.

Outward Foreign Manifest for the Ship Mount Vernon, June 4, 1803, Manifests, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

This document enumerates the values of cargo bound for Copenhagen. 

Crew List for the Ship Mount Vernon, June 4, 1803, Crew Lists, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

This document gives the names, stations (occupations), places of birth, places of residence, “complexion”, ages, and heights of the crew members. It should be noted that “complexion” does not necessarily relate to race.

Consignee Certificate for cargo on the Ship Mount Vernon, July 20, 1803, Consignee Certificates, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

This document gives a listing of the cargo that reached Copenhagen and the date that the vessel sailed into port.

Inward Foreign Manifest for the Ship Mount Vernon, nd [1803], Manifests, Collection District of Salem and Beverly; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36, National Archives and Records Administration–Northeast Region (Boston).

This is a partial listing of goods brought back to Salem after the Mount Vernon had completed its voyage to Europe. It returned to Salem from St Petersburg.

SECONDARY (PRINT) SOURCES USED TO CREATE LESSON:

Map of Salem About 1780. Based on the Researches of Sidney Perley and the Accounts of Col. Benjamin Pickman & Benjamin J.F. Browne with Additional Information Assembled by James Duncan Phillips & Henry Noyes Otis. Drawn by Henry Noyes Otis.  James Duncan Phillips, 1931.

This map is useful for comparing change over time in Salem from 1700 through 1870s: changes in wharves in particular. Many individuals and their occupations are noted on this map, which provides evidence of the locations of diverse occupations in Salem at this time. Note the detail of wharves on Derby St. and Stage Point.  Map available at Salem State College Archives, Salem, MA.

Booth, Robert. "Salem as Enterprise Zone," in Dane Morrison and Nancy Schultz, eds., Salem: Place, Myth and Memory. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2004, 63-89.

This chapter of Salem: Place, Myth and Memory provides a thorough description of the economic reality of Salem after the Revolutionary War. It also explains some of the cultural opportunities and activities Salemites participated in because of the relative wealth of the area.

Hawes, Dorothy Shurman. To the Farthest Gulf: The Story of the American China Trade. Ipswich, MA: Ipswich Press, 1990.

Hawes provides both the American and Chinese historical context for trade. She also discusses some of the prominent Salem personalities who provided evidence and description through their journals and ships' records of the China trade.

McKenzie, Matthew. "Salem as Athenaeum," in Dane Morrison and Nancy Schultz, eds., Salem: Place, Myth and Memory. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2004, 91-105.

The intellectual pursuits of Salem residents in the years 1760 to 1812 are discussed and connected to why Salem becomes a leader in trade and shipping.

Miller, Brandon Marie, "Salem and the East Indies" Cobblestone Magazine (September 1988): 6-9.

Salem's trading history is described in this article including the following aspects which all have connection to the development of trade: privateering, economics of trade, embargos, and the War of 1812. This article is easily accessed by most middle school students and is written at a 6th grade reading level. For more advanced readers, provide students with the article by Doug Stewart, "Salem Sets Sail".

Morrison, Dane. "Salem as Citizen of the World," in Dane Morrison and Nancy Schultz, eds., Salem: Place, Myth and Memory. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2004, 107-127.

This chapter of Salem: Place, Myth and Memory looks at the world view of Salem residents and how international trade expanded and what it meant to be a Salemite in the late 1700's to the early 1800's.

National Park Service. SALEM: Maritime Salem in the Age of Sail. (Washington, D.C.: US Department of the Interior, 1987) (particularly section: “Bordeaux to Sumatra: Salem’s World Trade”)

This guidebook printed for the National Park Service provides a comprehensive look at the historical significance of Salem as a major trading port in the late 18th and early19th centuries. It is lavishly illustrated and filled with informative sidebars which could be useful as readings for middle school students and older.

Stewart, Doug, "Salem Sets Sail" Smithsonian (June 2004): 92-99.

The initial focus of this article is on the expansion of the Peabody Essex Museum. However pages 96 - 98 include an overview of Salem's importance to trade in the east.

WEB RESOURCES USED IN LESSON:

Common-place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life
http://www.common-place.org/

Covering topics related to the history and culture of early America (through 1900), this online journal and meeting place for ideas and scholarship was created to bridge the gap between what academic historians write and what the public wants to read, Common-place brings together historians and history buffs, high school teachers and archivists, collectors and college students, to explore and exchange ideas about American history." Its tone is a bit less scholarly than a traditional journal, but the content no less stimulating or professional (Note that the Editorial Board is made up of some of the most renowned historians of Early America). Includes feature articles, reviews, curriculum ideas, explorations of objects and artifacts, and a discussion board serving a wide range of interests and needs among Early Americanists in K-12 schools, museums, archives and universities. Focus is on the “common-place” or “ordinary” in early America, so not much about great men and Presidents, but rather about ordinary men and women and their world. No digital archives here, but simply one of the best places to go for up-to-date and engaging writing and conversation about pre-1900 America. Great for teachers: In each edition, the “Common School” section of site offers an example and detailed discussion of a classroom teaching experience using primary source material. 

"Early American Trade with China" - Lesson Plan . University of Illinois – Chicago
http://teachingresources.atlas.uiuc.edu/chinatrade/

The activities in this unit use the early China trade to explore the place of the United States in the world order and economy of late 18th and early 19th centuries. They also provide insight into the role of trade in nation building before and after the War of 1812. In addition, they provide the background for understanding the United States' interest in events in and along the Pacific Rim later in the 19th century. The original print version of this unit was funded by a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provided support for the development of this web site. This unit was developed by Roberta Kugell Gumport and Marcella M. Smith. It is an excellent resource both for teachers and to use as a stand alone unit on the US and China trade. Highly recommended.

Essex National Heritage Commission  
http://www.essexheritage.org/

The ENHC's mission is to foster partnerships and educational opportunities that enhance, preserve and promote the heritage of Essex County. The website offers educators a host of information about activities and educational resources (including educational programs) at the numerous historic and cultural sites throughout the county which preserve and interpret Essex County’s heritage from pre-contact to the 20th century. The “Educator’s Resource Guide” section of the site allows teachers to search for programs and sites directly applicable to the curriculum frameworks at his or her grade level. This section also includes a rich selected bibliography of secondary sources related to the history and culture of Essex County, keyed to five themes: Early Settlement, Maritime, Arts and Literature, Environment, and Industrial.

Historic Cost-of-Living Calculator

Calculate the purchasing power of money in any year from 1665 to 2003.

National Archives and Records Administration, Northeast

This is the origin of the documents used as primary source material. The NARA website also includes information on programs for educators and historians on doing research in the federal records held by NARA and changing online exhibits highlighting particular historic records in their collections.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site.
http://www.nps.gov/sama/

A first stop for information, history and programs related to Salem, New England and United States maritime history from the colonial era through the mid 19th century. Salem Maritime National Historic Site preserves and interprets that history with emphasis on the triangular trade, the era of privateering, and the growing international trade with the Far East in the years of the Early Republic. The activities of this last period helped secure American economic independence after the Revolutionary war. Note: no primary sources available on line.

The Art of Shopping in China.Peabody Essex Museum

Current exhibit (summer 2005) at the PEM on 19th century trade between Canton, China and the west. Includes paintings depicting the China trade and a variety of export art created in China for the western market. URL offers a link to brief overview of exhibit.

 
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS AND/OR STUDENTS:

--none suggested--

 
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