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Nick Epps

27 March 2009
AP World History
Document-Based Question 2006

Although the economic effects of silver flow from the mid 16th century

to the early 18th century seem to perceived similarly in the separate

countries, the social effects are more biased based on the source’s point of

view. Documents 4 and 5 show that silver was the preferred means of pay

even though the sources were from different points-of-views (British and

Ming respectfully), however; documents 2 and 7 show that the Spanish and

the Chinese have different views on their hometown effects.

The documents that are in terms of economy prove to be impartial

such as document 4 which involves an outsider’s view from Britain who is

analyzing the Portuguese’s use of silver for the Chinese goods. In document

5, the Ming writer portrays a blatant statement that in older times, a simple

barter for dyed cloth would suffice but with the since the economy is

becoming more desiring of silver, common shops are starting to complicate

things with solid payments of silver. For the Spanish vantage, the priest

states straight facts saying that according to official records, there was an

incredible amount of silver circulating. A document that would increase the

understanding of the economical effects would be a report from an official

documenter in Manila that has the ratio between the silver going out versus

the amount of goods from China to show who has the advantage in the

trade- to serve something that has a professional view.


By contrast to the non-opinionated economic effects, the social effects

of the silver circulation differs opinions that represent each nation involved.

Taking a look through the Ming Dynasty’s eyes, they believe that the greed

involved in the silver is corrupting their lives. Interesting enough, all of the

documents that are considered “Social Chinese”, they all are from the Ming

officials. In document one, the Ming official is arguing that if you become too

entrenched in silver, you develop an inevitable lust for the silver and you

need more. He is trying to limit the amount of silver the common man will

get because they will be devoured by said lust. In document 3, also by a

Ming official, he reports that the respectable elders are blaming the

government for the poor amounts of grain. This document is a little less

biased than document 1 because it shows fair representation of the people

to the emperor. The last Ming official document (7) is saying that they

should allow foreign trade because the Spanish are making a profit selling

the Chinese products in the Philippines. His request shows us that they

would rather have money than the country’s pride. For the Spanish,

document 2 is from a scholar. This scholar is complaining about the

government’s spending. He is saying that the government is spending too

much silver for the Asian goods- so much that it is ruining Spain. Lastly,

document 8 is from an English scholar. This scholar is figuratively on the

same boat as the Spaniard. He is announcing that Europe has become too

enticed in the Asian commodities as well. His specific argument is that they
are giving away money for small, petty materials that will be of no use to

Europe in the long run. Also, he says that the money that the government is

putting into this indulgence will never be returned to Europe causing Europe

to be in peril. An additional document that would best suit this is a diary of

an American traveler. Since he/she is from the outside, he/she would be

impartial to the situation, he/she would be able to give an accurate analysis

of the social effects from the silver circulation.

Based on the given documents, the economic effects of the silver flow

appear to be evaluated similarly in the accounts from the countries involved,

whereas in the social sense; the viewpoints are skewed depending on the

nationality and position of the source such as a Chinese official.

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