Japan and America

When Commodore Matthew Perry sailed to Japan and demonstrated American naval strength, he forced the empire to engage in trade with the United States. How did this new, strong-armed relationship influence both parties? Pupils consider the effects by examining a print of American life by a Japanese artist created in 1861.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Develop additional questions that prompt scholars to consider how the views of other nations help people understand American history
Classroom Considerations
  • Create a free Stanford History Education Group account to use the activity
  • Class members may need background on America's relationship with Japan in the 1800s to interpret the primary source
  • Art is visually stimulating and engaging
  • Activity student to consider various perspectives of history
  • Starter question could be perceived as ethnocentric, as it only questions the reliability of the artwork