Past Events & Activities

Primary Sources

Tutorials

Lesson Plans

Links and Resources

Meet our partners
Staff/Management Plan
Contact Us!

 

 

 

 

Return to this topic's index page


Visit other sections
in this topic:



Primary Sources
Resources and Links

 

Salem in the World, the World in Salem: Salem in the Early Reublic and the East Indies Content Session Material

Theme: Salem as Place: Local History in a National Context
Topic: Salem in the World, The World in Salem: Salem in the Early Republic and the East Indies Trade
Date: July 14, 2004
Scholar: Dane Morrison, Ph.D., Professor, Department of History, Salem State College

Overview | Required Reading | Reading Questions

Materials selected and syllabus created by Dane Morrison, Ph.D. Professor, Department of History, Salem State College (dane.morrison@salemstate.edu)


Overview

I. Salem in the Early Republic

Following the War of Independence, the new nation of the United States witnessed its first economic depression, its first undeclared war, its first political parties, its first civil unrest. American saw these developments as significant tests of the success of the American Revolution and the republican experiment it inaugurated. And, they understood that the ways in which these crises were handled would set precedents for the future development of the American political system. In this session--through readings, discussion, and source analysis--we will survey the period of the early republic, focusing on the ways in which Salem both reflected and was buffeted by political, economic, and cultural change during this period.


II. Salem in the East Indies Trade


Historians have long depicted the East Indies trade as a significant episode in the histories of both Asia and the West, asserting that “The China trade was the source of wealth in the northern states before the era of the mills and factories…”; that “[t]his commerce with the Far East…was a primary factor in restoring the commonwealth to prosperity and power, in giving her maritime genius a new object and a new training, in maintaining a maritime supremacy”; it was “the quintessential business innovation of the 1780s”; and that “the wealth of the Far East was “the dominating influence…on the whole discovery, exploration, and development of this continent.” In this session-- through readings, discussion, and source analysis--we will survey the East Indies trade, focusing on Salem’s participation in the nation’s economic resurgence, the experience of Salem expatriates in the East, and the cultural influences of the East on Salem.

|return to top of page|


Required Reading

Secondary Source

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.

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

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

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.

Primary Sources:

none currently listed

|return to top of page|


Reading Questions

I. Salem in the Early Republic
Questions

  1. How did the national depression of the 1780s affect the local economy?
  2. How did the rise of national party politics influence Salem society?

Quotes

The following quotes capture some of the issues and ideas that will frame and focus our exploration of Salem in the Early Republic. Keep them in mind as you read, and return to them more than once. Consider what each one reveals to you about Salem in the Early Republic, and consider how it does so.

“…the independence of America was no guarantee for commercial success. Restrictions on West Indian trade, dwindling markets abroad, and the burden of mounting debts at home combined to make this an era of difficulty for American merchants and the country’s economy....”
- Jacob E. Cooke, Tench Coxe and the Early Republic, 63

“The first American vessel that anchored in the river Thames, after the peace, attracted great numbers to see the stripes. A British soldier hailed, in a contemptuous tone, ‘From whence came ye, brother Jonathan?’ The boatswain retorted, ‘Strait (sic) from bunker’s Hill.’”
- Salem Gazette 11 May 1790

“One day last week, from 1 to 200 sailors in Gloucester, who were thrown out of employment by the present situation of our commerce, formed a mournful procession…”
- Salem Gazette 18 March 1794

 

II. Salem in the East Indies Trade

Questions

  1. To what extent were Salemites aware of the link between the local and the global? Did Salemites construct identities that were both local and global in nature?
  2. What was the relationship between the East Indies trade and Salem’s maritime economy?
  3. What was Asia’s cultural influence on Salem?
  4. Consider the East Indies trade in light of Salem’s shift from commerce to manufacturing. Can you articulate a relationship between these two issues?

Quotes

The following quotes capture some of the issues and ideas that will frame and focus our exploration of Salem in the East Indies Trade. Keep them in mind as you read, and return to them more than once. Consider what each one reveals to you about the East Indies Trade and consider how it does so.

“A PROPHESY respecting America, not unlikely to be fulfilled—In the year 1800 they will have opened a trade to the East-Indies.”
-Salem Gazette 30 August 1785

“I find there hase been here a great many American ships preticular Salem vessels & that they have carried home a good deal of Sugar….”
-Capt. John Crowninshield, Calcutta 15 December 1797


|return to top of page|