Question: Analyze the political, social and economic changes that occurred during the Meiji era



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Question: Analyze the political, social and economic changes that occurred during the Meiji era.

How and why did the political, social, and economic changes occur during the Meiji era?



Introduction


Historical context—

1. dates

2. what theme are you addressing?
1. The Meiji restoration (1868-1912)

2. Theme—Change, adopting Western technology and ideas to unify and strengthen Japan against Western invasion



Provide an overview of your main arguments
1. Political—restoration of the emperor, central bureaucracy

2. Economic—launch industrial development and commerce

3. Social—traditional Tokugawa social hierarchy broken down


Thesis
During the Meiji restoration era, Japan has changed economically, politically, and socially by creating railways, telegraphs, the 5 Charter Oath, and adapted to Western dress in quest for Westernization.

Paragraph 1 Topic sentence


Point 1 Political Change

An important political change that occurred during the Meiji Era was the restoration of the Emperor & the centralization of power under the Emperor.



Evidence/example (or primary source)

1. Emperor Meiji and his advisors destroyed feudal powers of the daimyos

2. issued an imperial decree which forced all daimyo to surrender their land, power & privileges

(Doc. C) “court nobles and feudal lords were given same rank”



Explanation

When the feudal lords gave up their power, ranking and wealth, the emperor was able to create a centralized government that unified the country under one ruler.

This unity allowed the government to enact tremendous social and economic change that strengthened Japan against the West.


Point 2 the Charter Oath

The emperor issued an Imperial Oath of Five Articles that provided the basis for a strong national government and Japanese reform.



Evidence/ Example (or primary source)

Article 1: created “deliberative assemblies”

Article 5: “knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundation of imperial rule”


Explanation

The deliberative assemblies were used to win public support for Japanese policies, especially reforms that incorporated Western ideas and overturned Japanese traditions. By incorporating western ideas about military and politics, Japan could achieve a powerful nation that resisted Western European & American control.



Paragraph 2 Topic sentence
During the Meiji restoration era, Japan has changed economically, for Japan has developed and built a train as well as a telegraph for transportation and communication.


Point 1
Firstly, before the Meiji Era; during the Tokugawa Period, Japan blocked off all ideas from the West and had its own customs, therefore Japan’s transportation only consisted of horse carts (Global Insights Pg 263 picture). However, during the Meiji era, Japan wanted to copy the West, mainly USA, to develop a better economy. This included the development of transportation through trains and railways.


Evidence/example

(or primary source)


“In 1872, the first railway was laid between Tokyo and Yokohama, and within a short time was carrying almost 2 million people a year” (Pg 28).

Explanation

Newly built trains allowed Japanese people to transport goods and travel around the country easier, affecting the economy positively. Trade was increased because of more convenient transportation, therefore the economy rose.



P

Secondly, during the Tokugawa Era, Japan had only been communicating by moving around and spreading information directly. However during the Meiji Era, the telegraph was invented in Japan, mainly because of Westernization.



E

According to Page 28, telegraph lines were created, and were much cheaper to construct and operated at first only in Japan, which linked all the major Japanese cities by 1880.



E

This allowed communication between big cities like Tokyo and Yokohama to be much easier, therefore information spread quicker, and the economy rose because of how cheap it was to construct telegraph lines.



Paragraph 3

Also, Japan changed socially during the Meiji era, because samurai lost their place in society, and Japanese people were to wear Western dress in ceremonies



Point 1

The samurai were highly respected before the Meiji era, but then during the Meiji era, in quest for Westernization, the samurai lost their place in society.



Evidence/example

(or primary source)

In 1876, Hatori Edict prohibited Japanese samurai from wearing swords; their symbol of freedom and power.


Explanation

This shows that Japan was slowly getting rid of old Japanese social customs, because of Westernization, the samurai were being taken out of the social pyramid.



P

Before the Meiji era, Japanese people only wore Japanese clothing, however, during the Meiji era, the dress standards changed.



E

In 1872, the Meiji government decided that Western dress was going to be worn at ceremonies and court.



E

This shows how Japanese are slowly adapting to Western countries. Japan went through major social changes during the late 1800’s, and dress was one of them.



Conclusion


I gave you three good examples of political, economic, and social changes in Japan

During the Meiji restoration era, Japan has changed economically, politically, and socially by creating railways, telegraphs, the 5 Charter Oath, and adapted to Western dress in quest for Westernization.

All this proves the effort in which Japan tried to adapt to Western countries during the Meiji Restoration era, all to resist Western and European forces.


Sample Paragraph:

Point 1: An important political change that occurred during the Meiji Era was the restoration of the Emperor & the centralization of power under the Emperor. Emperor Meiji and his advisors destroyed feudal powers of the daimyos by issuing an imperial decree that forced all daimyo to surrender their land, power & privileges. According to the Imperial Decree issued on July 25, 1869, the emperor declared that “court nobles and feudal lords were given same rank” (Document C). This decree meant that the imperial government officials who served the emperor were now equal in power to the feudal landlords who previously held all the power during the Tokugawa period. This transfer of power from daimyos to the central government under the emperor unified Japan and provided a strong political government.

Point 2: Another political change that occurred during the Meiji restoration was a policy of incorporating Western ideas to strengthen the imperial government. The emperor issued an Imperial Oath of Five Articles that provided the basis for a strong nation that incorporated western ideas about a powerful military and government. According to Article 5 of the Charter Oath written by Emperor Meiji on April 1868, “knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundation of imperial rule.”(Document A) This quote means that knowledge world wide should be considered and evaluated in order for Japan to find new ways to improve its imperial government. By including ideas from the West, Japan was able to Westernize itself in order to become a powerful nation that could defend itself from Western countries.

For citing a primary source in your essay, include the date, title, author, and document letter in the sentence.By incorporating western ideas about military and politics, Japan could achieve a powerful nation that resisted Western European & American control.

Meiji Changes Essay

During the Meiji restoration era (1868-1912), Japan changed tremendously in attempt to Westernize the country in order to strengthen the nation and resist Western forces. Japan has changed economically, politically, and socially by creating railways, telegraphs, the 5 Charter Oath, and adapted to Western dress in quest for Westernization. Most changes in Japan were changes in effort of Westernizing Japan in order to strengthen the nation. The economical and social changes were Japan’s plan to unify Japan as a prideful country. The political changes were to strengthen the government, and give more power and authority to Japan’s government. In all, Japan improved to resist Western attacks and demands.

A political change that occurred during the Meiji era was the centralization of power directed towards the Emperor. Emperor Meiji and his advisors took away feudal powers from daimyos throughout Japan. They issued an imperial decree that made daimyos give up their land and power and restore the emperor. “court nobles and feudal lords were given same rank” (Doc. C). The emperor was only able to centralize the government under himself when the feudal lords gave up their power. This centralization allowed the government to issue social and economic changes that strengthened Japan as a nation to overpower the West. The emperor also issued the 5 Articles Charter Oath, which provided the basic ideas of the government’s goal for a national government and reform. According to the 5 articles, Article 5 states: “knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundation of imperial rule” This quote means that knowledge from anywhere in the world (mostly West) should be taken in consideration in order to strengthen Japan. It shows that Japan has changed politically because they are willing to adapt. By incorporating western ideas about politics, Japan could achieve a powerful nation that resisted Western European & American control.

During the Meiji restoration era, Japan has changed economically, for Japan has developed and built a train as well as a telegraph for transportation and communication. Firstly, before the Meiji Era; during the Tokugawa Period, Japan blocked off all ideas from the West and had its own customs, therefore Japan’s transportation only consisted of horse carts (Global Insights Pg 263 picture). However, during the Meiji era, Japan wanted to copy the West, mainly USA, to develop a better economy. This included the development of transportation through trains and railways. “In 1872, the first railway was laid between Tokyo and Yokohama, and within a short time was carrying almost 2 million people a year” (Pg 28). Newly built trains allowed Japanese people to transport goods and travel around the country easier, affecting the economy positively. Trade was increased because of more convenient transportation, therefore the economy rose. Secondly, during the Tokugawa Era, Japan had only been communicating by moving around and spreading information directly. However during the Meiji Era, the telegraph was invented in Japan, mainly because of Westernization. According to Page 28, telegraph lines were created, and were much cheaper to construct and operated at first only in Japan, which linked all the major Japanese cities by 1880. This allowed communication between big cities like Tokyo and Yokohama to be much easier, therefore information spread quicker, and the economy rose because of how cheap it was to construct telegraph lines.


Also, Japan changed socially during the Meiji era, because samurai lost their place in society, and Japanese people were to wear Western dress in ceremonies. The samurai were highly respected before the Meiji era, but then during the Meiji era, in quest for Westernization, the samurai lost their place in society. In 1876, Hatori Edict prohibited Japanese samurai from wearing swords; their symbol of freedom and power. This shows that Japan was slowly getting rid of old Japanese social customs, because of Westernization. The samurai were being taken out of the social pyramid. Before the Meiji era, Japanese people only wore Japanese clothing, however, during the Meiji era, the dress standards changed. In 1872, the Meiji government decided that Western dress was going to be worn at ceremonies and court. This shows how Japanese people are slowly adapting to Western customs. These major social changes in Japan during the late 1800’s were essential for adapting to Western culture, and helped Japan create a better relationship with the West.
Japan’s economy, social structure, and government were all impacted positively during the Meiji era, through railway and telegraph inventions; affecting transportation, adapting to Western dress, and eradicating feudal lords. All this proves the effort in which Japan tried to adapt to Western countries during the Meiji Restoration era, all to resist Western and European forces.


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