Teaching Students About The History Of Matthew Perry

Education plays a significant role in shaping young minds with knowledge of their past, world history, and influential figures that have left their mark. One such important personality is Matthew Perry, who played a crucial role in forging international relationships and opening up Japan to the western world. This article delves into the importance of teaching students about the history of Matthew Perry and how educators can effectively impart this knowledge to their pupils.

The Significance of Matthew Perry in Global History

Commodore Matthew Perry was an American Naval officer who commanded an expeditionary squadron sent by the U.S. President Millard Fillmore in 1853-1854 to visit Japan. The primary aim was to end Japan’s isolationist policy and create an avenue for trade and diplomacy between the two nations. His arrival led to the Treaty of Kanagawa signed on March 31, 1854, which marked the beginning of Japan’s involvement in international trade after nearly 200 years of isolation.

Perry’s expedition set off a chain reaction that not only changed Japan’s course but also altered global dynamics. It is important for students to understand this transformative impact on modern politics, economics, and cultural exchange.

Teaching Strategies

1. Background Context:

Begin by providing students with background information on the global socio-political situation during Perry’s era. Discuss topics such as American expansionism, worldwide naval rivalry, and early efforts by western nations to establish relations with Japan. Building context helps students develop a better understanding of why Perry’s expedition was significant.

2.Multimedia Tools:

Employ various multimedia tools like documentaries, presentations, or movies based on Perry’s journey. Visual aids enhance the learning experience by offering different perspectives and helping students grasp complex concepts more easily.

3. Engaging Activities:

Organize engaging activities like debates, group discussions or role-plays that encourage students to analyze Perry’s actions and their possible consequences. Such exercises stimulate critical thinking and develop a deeper understanding of the historical events surrounding Perry’s expedition.

4. Analysis of Primary Sources:

Introduce students to primary sources like Perry’s own journals or letters, as well as news articles from that period. Analyzing these documents helps students gather information from firsthand accounts to form their own opinions about Matthew Perry’s legacy.

5. Connecting to Modern Times:

Draw parallels between the effects of Perry’s journey and its current relevance, such as modern trade relations between Japan and the United States. Making connections with contemporary issues will help students appreciate the long-term significance of historical events.

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