Early American Trade with China

Trade Routes & Trading Strategies

Economics of the China Trade

Contrasting Views of Trade

Life on a Merchant Ship


Lesson Overview

TEACHING TIME: Two 50-minute class periods


  • Students will be able to identify and explain important features of the American and Western European view of trade.
  • Students will be able to contrast American and Chinese ideas about trade.

An Alternative Lesson
(especially appropriate for Middle School students)

An alternative to the primary sources included here is “Qianlong Meets Macartney: Collision of Two World Views,” a short play designed for middle and high school students which dramatizes the vast difference between the Chinese and European/American view of trade and the role of government. The play has ten speaking parts to actively involve many students, and includes an excellent, brief introduction to give students the background information they will need. It is available from Primary Source, 125 Walnut St., Watertown MA 02472 (Tel: 617 923-9933, Fax: 617 923-0975, Website: http://www.primarysource.org).

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