How does the social and political position of merchants change over the course of Chinese history to 1700?

No other outside sources may be used****
(The following assignment can only use these sources) Hansen is the most important.
Valerie Hansen. The Open Empire: A History of China to 1800. 2nd Edition. W.W. Norton&Co, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-0393938777
Burton Watson. The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: From Early Times to the Thirteenth Century. Columbia UP, 1984. ISBN: 9780231056830
Ivanhoe and Van Norden, Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy. 2nd Ed., Hackett, 2006. ISBN: 9780872207806
Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405–1433, Open Road Distribution, 2014. Axe Ebook
Lynn Struve, ed. and trans., Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm: China in Tigers’ Jaws, Yale UP, 1993.ISBN: 9780300075533
The following are links to PDF of 3 of the above sources
2. How does the social and political position of merchants change over the course of Chinese history to 1700? Mercantile activity grows in scope, scale, and importance, but do merchants become more powerful, important, valued? Why, or why not?
•This is an essay assignment, not a book report or short homework: I am expecting an introduction, thesis statements, paragraphs, conclusions, etc.
Structure is essential to a clear and effective argument. Paragraphs, topic sentences, thesis statements, are all useful elements to a properly structured essay.
This is not a five-paragraph theme: if you give me an intro, three body paragraphs with one piece of evidence each, and a weak conclusion, you will do very poorly.
Don’t summarize the reading materials: describe or quote the evidence you need to answer the question, with proper citations so your reader can find your source, but don’t waste time by repeating easy-to-find or irrelevant material.
Essay should have a point, also known as a thesis, and a conclusion in which you clearly show your reader what your answer is to the question at the beginning of the essay.
Don’t assume that “an answer” will be easily found in one section of one book, or in the textbook. This essay requires careful reading, analytical thinking, and substantial evidence.
Be concrete: evidence is always more convincing than generalization or guesswork. In fact, it’s the entire point of the assignment: using evidence to generate an answer to a real historical question. Showing me that you’ve read and considered the evidence carefully is an important part of the assignment.
Clarity is crucial: Make sure you understand what you’re writing and that other readers like yourself -college students -will understand you. Don’t try to impress me with vocabulary: impress me with historical detail, completeness, and careful thought.
Be careful to address all parts of the question: when asked to pick between two choices, for example, it’s not enough to say what the positive argument for your side is without discussing possible arguments for the other side.
•Citations and Plagiarism
Failure to acknowledge the source of your ideas or information is unacceptable. You must cite the source of information and ideas that are outside of “general knowledge,” including information from your course texts.
Plagiarism will result in no credit. Poor paraphrasing and poor citation will be penalized.
A Works Cited or Bibliography (the following is very important)
Format of the notes is up to you: I prefer Chicago Manual of Style footnotes for my research, but parenthetical citations are fine as well; any format will be fine as long as it is used consistently and it clearly identifies the source and pageof your information. If you cite a book, or even a chapter, without page numbers, it means that you’re just using general information; if you are using specific information, you need to be specific about where your reader can find it.
These questions can be answered more than adequately with reference to assigned readings and lectures. Using outside sources instead of course materials will result in penalties. Using outside sources without citation will result in zero credit.

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