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Lesson Plans - Salem's Great Age of Sail and Trade

NAME OF LESSON:

Salem's Great Age of Sail and Trade

GRADE(S) DESIGNED FOR: 5
TIME REQUIRED: Four-Five  45 minute class periods

NAME OF AUTHOR:

Mary L. Cura
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:

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Salem began the prosperous business of world trade.  During this time they traded in China, Europe and East and West Indies ports.  In these lessons children will learn what life was like for sailors as they traveled to foreign ports, some of the goods that were traded, and they will take a close look at the tea trade.  Within this study the children will observe, discuss, and interpret paintings about Salem voyages, China tea trade and read text about trade, interpret information from tables, and locate trade destination on maps and globes.

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PRIMARY SOURCES & SOURCE TYPES USED in LESSON:

Artist Not Identified. The China Tea Trade, 1790-1800. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: www.pem.org [viewed 5 August 2005].

Youqua. Whampoa Anchorage, ca. 1850. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: www.pem.org [viewed 5 August 2005].

Ropes, George. Crowninshield’s Wharf, 1806. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum.

Ropes, George. The Ship 'Friendship' Homeward Bound, 1805. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum.

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ESSENTIAL QUESTION(S):

How was Salem involved in world trade in the late 18th and early 19th centuries?  What was life like for the Salem sailors on the merchant ships?  What were some of the ports the merchant ships visited?  What goods were traded?  What were the trade routes?

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LESSON OBJECTIVES

LEARNING/CONTENT OBJECTIVES:

  • Students will describe how Salem was involved in trade during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • Students will describe what life was like on board a Salem vessel sailing to a foreign port.
  • Students will tell what some of the ports were that the Salem vessels sailed to.
  • Students will list some of the goods traded during this period.

CONCEPT/SKILLS OBJECTIVES:

    • Students will observe, discuss, and interpret paintings for their social and historical significance.
    • Students will read historical information to broaden their understanding of a topic.
    • Students will interpret information from a table.
    • Students will locate destinations on maps and globes. 

 

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

MA FRAMEWORK STRAND: Grade 5 United States History

MA FRAMEWORK UNIT/THEME ADDRESSED:

The Political, Intellectual, and Economic Growth of the Colonies, 1700-1775

The First Four Presidencies and the Growth of the Republic United States to 1820

MA FRAMEWORK LEARNING STANDARD(S) ADDRESSED:

5:11: Explain the importance of maritime commerce in the development of the economy of colonial Massachusetts, using historical societies and museums as needed.

B. Trans-Atlantic trade 

C. Explain the importance of the China trade and the whaling industry to 19th century New England, and give examples of imports from China.       

MA FRAMEWORK CONCEPT AND SKILLS STANDARD(S) ADDRESSED

GRADE AND SUBJECT: Grade 5 United States History, Geography, Economics and Government: Early Exploration to Westward Movement

NUMBER(S) AND DESCRIPTION(S): 

  • Identify different ways of dating historical narratives
  • Observe and Identify details in cartoons, photographs, charts, and graphs relating to an historical narrative
  • Use maps and globes to identify absolute locations (latitude and longitude)

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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND/CONTEXT ESSAY: 

In 1626 Roger Conant led thirty colonists into Salem to settle along the North River.  These settlers made a living fishing and trading with the Indians.  From the time those colonists arrived to just before the Revolutionary War, Salem grew from a trading and fishing village to a port trading in the West Indies and trans-Atlantic routes.  1

Many Salem merchants began using their ships as privateers because trade suffered during the Revolutionary War.  The Continental Congress licensed these vessels to capture British ships. 2

Though privateering was risky, Salem captains sailed to distant ports they had never ventured to before and traded in new and different goods.  The payoff for this kind of trade left them and the ship owners with little interest in the trade they did during peacetime. 3

The end of the war created a brief post war depression.  The Treaty of Paris ended privateering.  The maritime industries of Salem were caught in a depression because during the war privateering kept them afloat. 4

When America became a new country, the ports of Great Britain’s West Indies’ were closed to American trade.  This trade did not reopen until 1796.  Salem merchants turned to what their forefathers did – fishing fleets and schooners.  These schooners sailed up and down the east coast from Newfoundland to Georgia selling local produce and “Yankee notions” for corn, flour, tobacco and other goods. After a while they did get into the British West Indies with their goods.  They sailed into the British West Indies (who badly needed food) on vessels filled with cargo of produce.  They sailed in “under distress” and British authorities were helpless. 5

In 1784 Salem merchants began trading in Liverpool and reestablished ties with London bankers and merchants.  Their vessels carried oats, hay, and tobacco.  They also began trade in Bordeaux, Lisbon, and Cadiz. 6 

Ex-privateers saw the trading potential of Eastern goods they confiscated during the war.  These ex-privateers knew Salem needed to look to distant ports to truly regain prosperity.

Elias Hasket Derby expanded his trading routes after the war.  His ex-privateers were refitted as merchantmen, which were large and could travel a greater speed.  He was the first Salem merchant to travel to St. Petersburg, the Cape of Good Hope, Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Manila and Canton. 7

 “The Indies trade put Salem on the world map, giving the town its style and character.  It was a small port, but one that held its own in world markets with the large merchantmen of the East India Company fleets.  Indeed, so familiar were Salem vessels in the Indies that some traders regarded “Salem” as a sovereign nation along with Great Britain and the Netherlands.  The port took pride in its special place in world trade, affirming its connection with the Indies in the city’s motto: “To the Farthest Port of the Rich East.” 8

Derby’s ship, the Grand Turk, commanded by Ebenezer West, was the first New England ship to arrive in China.  Making a profit was difficult in China.  There were many regulations and ancient customs that needed to be dealt with before a transaction could be made.  Though trading was complex and time consuming in China, the cargo the Grand Turk returned with brought Derby a profit of between 100 and 200 percent.   It was not long before other merchants sent ships to China.

Trade in China did not last for Salem merchants.  By 1790 Salem merchants only averaged one trip per year.  After a while the profit was not great enough to justify the cost and risk to ships. 

Salem’s trade in other world ports continued to expand.  As Salem prospered and many luxury goods from Eastern ports entered Salem Harbor, the city gained a reputation as the Venice of the New World. 9

The War of 1812 was the beginning of the end of Salem’s lucrative trade.  By 1845 Salem’s prosperity as a seaport had come to an end. 10

New York and Boston took over as the leading cities for trading.  They had deeper harbors, larger ships and rail lines that brought goods to inland places in the United States. 11

1. National Park Service, SALEM: Maritime Salem in the Age of Sail. (Washington DC: US Department of the Interior): 41. 

 2.  Brandon Marie Miller,“Salem and the East Indies”, Cobblestone, The History Magazine for Young People. 9 No. 9. ( September 1988): 6.

3. National Park Service: 42.

4. National Park Service: 42.

5. National Park Service: 43.

6. National Park Service: 43.

7. National Park Service: 47.

8. National Park Service: 109.

9. National Park Service: 17.

10. Dorothy Schurman Hawes, To the Farthest Gulf: The Story of the American China Trade. (Ipswich, MA:Ipswich Press, 1990): 50.

11. Doug Stewart,“Salem Sets Sail” Smithsonian (June, 2004): 98.

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MATERIALS LIST AND PRE-ARRANGEMENTS/PREPARATION NEEDED

MATERIALS LIST:

Lesson One: 

Duda, Abaigeal. “Salem's Friendship" and "Life on Board" Calliope: When Spice Ruled. 16 No. 6 (February 2006): 42-3, 47.

Ropes, George. The Launching of the Ship Fame, 1802. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: www.pem.org [viewed 5 August 2005].

Lesson Two:

Artist Not Identified. The China Tea Trade, 1790-1800. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: www.pem.org [viewed 5 August 2005].

Youqua. Whampoa Anchorage, ca. 1850. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: www.pem.org [viewed 5 August 2005].

Sentence Strips (see explanation under Lesson 2 Activities)

Lesson Three:

World maps and globes

Chart paper

Moore, Michael. Table 1 & 2. Destinations: American goods Exported from Salem, 2nd Quarter, 1803. National Archives, Northeast Region.

Moore, Michael. Table 3. Types of Goods and Their Origins Imported from the West Indies to Salem in 1803. National Archives, Northeast Region.

Moore, Michael. Table 4 & 5. Types of Goods and Their Origins Imported from China and the East Indies to Salem in 1803. National Archives, Northeast Region.

Moore, Michael. Table 6. Goods Imported from Europe to Salem in 1803. National Archives, Northeast Region.

Assessment:

Ropes, George. Crowninshield’s Wharf, 1806. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum.

Ropes, George. The Ship 'Friendship' Homeward Bound, 1805. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum.

Salem in the Age of Sail and Trade: A Written Primary Source Analysis

Rubric for Assessment

           

PREPARATION:

1.  Preteach vocabulary.

2.  Review with children what primary sources are and how to observe and analyze them

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VOCABULARY:

national pride, launch, Whampoa, anchorage, sampan, mast, profit, voyage, documented voyage, privateer, commission, merchant ship, unpredictable, encountered, export, import

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LESSON ACTIVITIES:

Lesson One: 

The first lesson asks the students to view the painting The Launching of the Ship Fame, 1802.  After the children observe the painting and discuss it, they will read about another merchant vessel, the Friendship (text taken from Calliope, February 2006. Read with the children the following sections of that publication: "About the Friendship of Salem," and "Life on Board"). Following the reading, the children will discuss what they learned in the readings.

Goals:  Children will observe, discuss and describe the painting The Launching of the Ship Fame, 1802.  After reading about the Friendship, children will have a better understanding of sea voyages during Salem’s "great age of trade."

Before presenting the painting, introduce the following vocabulary words: national pride, launch

Painting One: The Launching of the Ship Fame, 1802

This painting depicts the Fame getting ready to leave Salem Harbor on a trading voyage.

The teacher will guide the discussion with the following guiding questions:

What is happening in this painting?  What are some words to describe the people on the shore? On the ship?  Is there a feeling of national pride in this picture? Why? or Why not?  (Read the title of the painting to the children.)  Where could this ship be going?  What could it be carrying?  What do you think is in the large barrels?

Once the children have finished discussing the painting, explain that the Friendship was another ship that set sail from Salem to trade in the East Indies, China, and other ports.  Then have them read the information about the Friendship from the Calliope articles. 

Before the children begin reading, introduce the following vocabulary words: mast, profit, voyage, documented voyage, privateer, commission, merchant ship, unpredictable, encountered.

Guiding Questions:  What countries did the Friendship visit?  Explain what a privateer vessel was?  Describe what life was like on board the Friendship for the crew.  What happened to the Friendship in 1812?  Why did this happen?  We learn about the sea voyages from Salem from the painting and the text we read. Compare and contrast the information from both.

Lesson Two

During the second lesson, the children will observe and discuss paintings that depict China trade.  This lesson may be done in class by accessing paintings from http://www.pem.org (go to artscape) or looking at the paintings on a field trip to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.

Goal:  Children will observe, discuss and describe the paintings depicting the China trade.

Look at the paintings in the following order:

Painting OneThe China Tea Trade, 1790-1800.  This painting depicts the tea business in China.  It takes the viewer from the planting of the tea crop to the ships leaving port to take the tea out of China.

Guiding Questions:

Tell me what you see in this painting?  The title of this painting is the China Trade, 1790-1800. Think of this painting as a pictorial timeline showing the tea trade from start to finish.  What scene do you think would happen first?  Which would happen next? Next? (Continue in this manner until the children end with the ships sailing out of port.)

Explain to the children that the large ships did not come right into port.  The tea was put onto smaller vessels called sampans and brought out to the larger trading ships.

You may want to write on sentence strips the scenes from this painting that the children describe.  At a later time, have the children put the sentence strips in order and display them on a bulletin board.

If you are at the museum, ask the children to turn around and look at the painting facing China Tea Trade

Painting Two: Whampoa Anchorage, c. 1850.  This painting depicts the city of Whampoa where the trading ships meet the sampans.  (Teach the meaning of the word anchorage.) 

Guiding Questions:  What do you see in this painting?  Describe the ships in the painting?  Describe the buildings?  What do you think those buildings are for?  What do you think the island is used for in the middle of the painting?  (Graveyard for sailors who died while in port.  Explain how the dirty, unsanitary conditions caused illness among sailors and sometimes death.)

Lesson Three:

(This lesson will need to be done in two 45 minute sessions.) In small groups the children will read and discuss documents that have been put in table form from the Northeast Region Archives.  They will be looking at the following:

  • Table 2. Destinations: American goods Exported from Salem, 2nd Quarter, 1803
  • Table 3. Types of Goods and Their Origins Imported from the West Indies to Salem in 1803
  • Table 4. Types of Goods and Their Origins Imported from China and the East Indies to Salem in 1803.
  • Table 6. Goods Imported from Europe to Salem in 1803.

In small groups children will find information in the tables and discuss the following guiding questions: What goods did Americans export?  What countries did they export these goods to? What goods did Americans import?  From which countries did they import these goods?

Have each group of children make charts showing the kinds of goods that were imported and exported. As a class have the children brainstorm ways of categorizing the goods.  You may need to teach them to keep the categories general.  You may want to give them an example of categorizing exported goods as goods made from wood, vegetables, grains, meat foods and products, and other goods.

After looking at the tables and making their charts, each child in the group will pick five or more destinations and locate these destinations on a map or globe.  They will write the name of the place they are locating and the lines of latitude and longitude for each place. Have the children place this information on a chart.

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ASSESSMENT/STUDENT PRODUCT or PERFORMANCE:

Students will look at the paintings Friendship Homeward Bound and Crowninshield's Wharf. They will be given a set of guiding questions and asked to write about what these paintings teaches us about Salem in the age of trade. They will also be asked to draw on information learned in the first three lessons.

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ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:

Students will be assessed on their written analysis of the above assessment product. They will be assessed on this written assignment with a rubric.

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POSSIBLE MODIFICATIONS:

Students may need vocabulary presented prior to lesson. 

Students will work with a teacher or peer tutor when doing Lesson Three.

Students may use a computer for written assignment.

Students can scribe information to a teacher.

Student may be given a list of vocabulary words to assist with written assessment assignment. 

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POSSIBLE EXTENSION ACTIVITIES:

  • Ask children to view the painting Packing Porcelain for Export, ca. 1820.
    (Gouache on paper. Peabody Essex Museum) and discuss it.

    Read and discuss "Salem and the East Indies Trade" (Cobblestone, Vol. 9 no. 9, September, 1988).

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CROSS CURRICULAR/INTERDISCIPLINARY LINKS/ACTIVITIES:

  • Children can use charts from Records of the Salem Custom House to compare values of different cargos exported to different ports.

  •  Children can compare values of exports and imports using tables two and five.

  • Using the painting The Launching of the Ship Fame, 1802, ask the children to write a story from the point of view of a sailor on the ship or a merchant on the shore.

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SOURCES AND RESOURCES

PRIMARY SOURCES USED USED IN LESSON:

Ropes, George. Crowninshield’s Wharf, 1806. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum.

Although George Ropes only lived to age thirty, he produced a number of works that portray daily scenes of life in Salem.  He worked as a sign, carriage, and landscape/marinescape painter to support his family following his father’s death.  Here, he has captured a wharf built by built by George Crowninshield and Sons and also several ships that they owned: the America, Fame, Prudent and Belisarius.  Because merchants made money when their vessels were exchanging goods in other ports, it is unlikely that all of these vessels would have been in Salem’s port at once.  

Ropes, George. The Ship 'Friendship' Homeward Bound, 1805. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum.

Ropes painted the Friendship as she returned to Salem. The vessel would have been heavily laden with goods from abroad. It was these goods that made Salem - and many of Salem's merchants - very wealthy during the years following the end of the Revolutionary War.

Artist Not Identified. The China Tea Trade, 1790-1800. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: www.pem.org [viewed 5 August 2005].

Oil painting at the PEM that depicts the entire process of the tea trade.  The painting takes one from preparing the soil for planting tea to the sailing vessel taking the tea out of China.

Youqua. Whampoa Anchorage, ca. 1850. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: www.pem.org [viewed 5 August 2005].

This painting depicts Whampoa where tea was picked up from smaller vessels.  Children view the port where ships wait for goods and a cemetery for sailors who die while in port.

The next four sources are excellent examples of tables where the children can read about ports visited and goods exported and imported.  These sources help them to understand China trade was a business. For more information or to contact the National Archives, Northeast Region, see their website: www.archives.gov/northeast.

Moore, Michael. Table 1 & 2. Destinations: American goods Exported from Salem, 2nd Quarter, 1803. National Archives, Northeast Region.

Tables created from Records of the Salem Custom House. Distributed at SIH Summer Institute, July, 2005.     

Moore, Michael. Table 3. Types of Goods and Their Origins Imported from the West Indies to Salem in 1803. National Archives, Northeast Region.

Tables created from Records of  Salem and the Maritime Trade. Distributed at SIH Summer Institute, July, 2005.

Moore, Michael. Table 4 & 5. Types of Goods and Their Origins Imported from China and the East Indies to Salem in 1803. National Archives, Northeast Region.

Tables created from Records of  Salem and the Maritime Trade. Distributed at SIH Summer Institute, July, 2005.

Moore, Michael. Table 6. Goods Imported from Europe to Salem in 1803. National Archives, Northeast Region.

Tables created from Records of Salem and the Maritime Trade. Distributed at SIH Summer Institute, July, 2005.

Ropes, George. The Launching of the Ship 'Fame,' 1802. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: www.pem.org [viewed 5 August 2005].

Oil painting at the PEM that depicts the excitement and national pride as people on the dock arrive to see the ship Fame off on a trading voyage.

  SECONDARY (PRINT) SOURCES USED IN LESSON:

Duda, Abaigeal. “Salem's Friendship" and "Life on Board" Calliope: When Spice Ruled. 16 No. 6 (February 2006): 42-3, 47.

The articles used in this lesson give the children interesting historical information and help them to understand what life was like for sailors. There is also a fascinating section on a ships log ("Plotting Firendship's Course).  Teachers may wish to do extended lessons with this information.

SECONDARY (PRINT) SOURCES USED TO CREATE LESSON:

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

Excellent source for background information.

Miller, Brandon Marie. “Salem and the East Indies,”Cobblestone: Salem and the East Indies Trade 9 No. 9. (September 1988).  

Excellent source for background information. Written for children to read and understand.

National Park Service. SALEM: Maritime Salem in the Age of Sail. Washington DC: US Department of the Interior, 2002. 

Excellent source for background information. It also includes maps, paintings of men involved in the China trade and some sea paintings.

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

This article overviews Salem's participation in Martime trade and also overviews some of the goods that were brought back from China and the East Indies.

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS AND/OR STUDENTS:

Yoder, Carolyn, P.,editor. Cobblestone: Salem and the East Indies Trade 9 No. 9 (September 1988).

Excellent source for background information. Written for children to read and understand.

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