ONE EXEMPLAR: Let’s break it down now ya’ll!
Exemplar by Animesh Joshi, Valley High School, WDM, IA
This is an essay written by one of your peers. It is not written by a college student, but by one of your own! I have color coded the parts of his essay that are earning him a very high score on the Silver DBQ. This way, you will be able to visually understand where the points are coming from in his essay.
THESIS – (Complex, doesn’t repeat question, historically defensible) CONTEXT – (Situates the argument in World History) DOC SUPPORTING THESIS – (Docs are described individually and SUPPORT the argument) SENTENCE THAT TIES TO THESIS – (Doc/info is not merely listed, but tied back to thesis) SOURCING – (Discussion of doc’s historical situation, audience, purpose or POV) OUTSIDE EVIDENCE – (Must be more than a mere mention and tie into the argument) TOPIC /CONCLUDING SENTENCES THAT TIE INTO THESIS – (Encourages essay flow)
☺ Reminder that the prompt was:
“Evaluate the contributing factors to the patterns of the global silver trade
between 1550 and 1800.”
During 1550-1800, the world was changing and entered an early modern era. European exploration of the Americas opened new avenues for profit, once they realized they hadn’t reached India or the spice trade. Explorers immediately looked for ways to make profit. Chief among these was silver/gold mining and sugar cane plantations. Meanwhile, in Asia centralized powers like the Ming (and later Qing) and Tokugawa Shogunate emerged. They restricted trade with Europeans to certain cities but still engaged in global trade, especially with that of New World silver. Although initially the global silver trade was motivated by the discovery of new sources of silver, ultimately it was Chinese demand that sustained it during 1550-1800. The discovery of large amounts of silver throughout the New world in the Andes and Mexico contributed to the global silver trade. Document 2 depicts the processing and extraction of silver in a mine in Potosi, Bolivia. Many people are involved in this process and the majority of them are probably slaves from the Atlantic Slave Trade. The dependence on slaves was created when native populations were wiped out by European diseases The Labour force required for mining in Bolivia emphasizes contributing to the global silver trade. In Doc 6, Spanish priest Antonio Vasquez de Espinosa notes that in the 70 years after the discovery of the Potosi mines more than 326 million silver coins have been taken out, fueling the silver trade. However, his point of view may be flawed because as a priest he doesn’t have expertise in economic matters. The analysis he does may not be entirely accurate because he has not been educated in economics nor is part of the silver mining process itself. The massive influx of silver wasn’t only coming from the new world, trade with the Japanese, for example, gave
Europeans another source of silver to use in trade. British merchant, Ralph Fitch details the trade done between the Japanese and British in Document 3. He claims that the only good received by the British from the Japanese are 600,000 coins worth of silver. This silver is then used to fuel trade with China which is why silver becomes such a commodity in the market. New sources of silver may have sparked the global silver trade but the Chinese demand for it ensured that it stuck around. In Document 1, a Spanish scholar named Thomas Mercado claims that all of the commodities Spain buys from China are payed using silver. The large demand in China fueled the global trade of silver. However he speaks only from the Spanish point of view and thinks that the amount of silver china requires is ruining Spain so that it is possible he is exaggerating to prove his point, changing the purpose of the document as well. In Document 4, a lawyer for the Spanish crown describes how when ships come from China to Manila and the tax they pay. The fact that official procedures like this exist show how common trading between the two nations was, something that was fueled by silver. In Document 7, Charles d’Avenant says that the only things Asia sends to Europe are gold and silver and they only receive luxury items in return. Europeans needed products like dyed cotton and silk but the demand for silver in China meant that the only way they could pay to obtain the products they wanted was by using silver. However, the bitter tone by which he complains about Europe not setting anything of “solid use” suggests the purpose of the document may be to stop trade with the Chinese, so the information from the document could be incorrect. Finally, in Document 5 a Chinese writer notes how in dye shops people cannot barter but must instead pay using silver. This document directly shows why the demand for silver in China was occurring, so it could be used as currency. As a writer, the audience for his essay – the changing times – was probably large so Zu Dun qiu Ming has accurate information about the changes in the city of Hangzhou. The desire for only silver in China contributed to the existence of the global silver trade. The discovery of new sources of silver in both the new world and Japan started the silver trade globally, but ultimately, the high demand in China is what fueled it from 1550- 1800. The opening of new mines in the Americas and exports from Japan gave Europeans silver in abundance. They used this silver to trade with the Chinese who required it for their currency. In the end, the global silver trade required supply from the New World and demand from China for its success.