January's World History unit contains four lessons. Two lessons, 21
and 22 are devoted to Russia and are titled "Early Growth and Expansion."
Lessons 23 and 24 are devoted to "Feudal Japan." Physical geography (especially
location) has had a major and direct influence on both Russian and Japanese
history. Russia's early history is marked by the theme of expansion, especially
expansion towards warm-water ports. This is a result of Russia's physical
isolation. Japan as an island nation in the Pacific Ocean is isolated naturally.
However, at times in the history of Feudal Japan, the Japanese as opposed
to the early Russians have sought to isolate themselves culturally as well.
The lessons on Russia in this unit should be taught after the lesson on
the geography of Russia (Geography, Lesson 12), and the lessons on Japan
in this unit should be taught after the lesson on the geography of Japan
(Geography, Lesson 13). Both geography lessons provide the background for
the lessons in this World History unit.
Fifth Grade - World History - Lesson 20 - Russia: Early Growth and Expansion (Part 1)
Discuss the main events in the reign of Ivan III (Ivan the Great).
Discuss the main events in the reign of Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible).
Discuss the titles 'the Great' and 'the Terrible.'
Write an essay on Ivan III or Ivan IV.
Classroom-size political map of the world
Political map of Russia, attached (for transparency and one copy per student)
Fact sheet, attached (one copy per student)
Sentence strip containing time line begun in prior World History classes
Pictures of icons, buildings, and other artifacts of the period where
Flint, David. Russia: On the Map. Austin: Raintree Steck-Vaugn, 1993. Use this book to show the students pictures of ice breakers on the frozen Arctic ports and pictures of the Kremlin buildings erected by Ivan III.
Lye, Keith. Passport to Russia. Danbury: Franklin Watts, 1996. You may use this book to show students pictures of religious icons, icebreakers, and Russian Orthodox churches.
Resnick, Abraham. Russia: A History to 1917. Chicago: Children's Press, 1983. This book is written in language appropriate for fifth graders. It contains detailed histories of the area and color photographs of religious icons. Use this book as a visual aide in class.
Russia Then and Now. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1992.
You may use this book to show students pictures of the dome-shaped cathedrals
of the Russian Orthodox Church. Prepared by the Geography Department of
Hirsch, E. D. Jr. ed. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
________. What Your 4th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Lepine, Simone. "The Commonwealth of Independent States." The Mailbox:
Intermediate, Feb./Mar, 1996, pp. 3-10. This article contains ideas
for activities and background information for teachers.
This is a lesson on the political history of Russia. It must follow Geography Lesson 12, which provides some background on Russia.
In Third Grade World History (Eastern Roman Empire), students learned that Russia became the new center of the Eastern Orthodox Church after 1453. In Second Grade Geography, students were introduced to the location of Russia. Russia's location was also presented in Lesson 89 in Reading Mastery V.
In this lesson, students will learn that Russia expanded its territory in order to end its isolation. Students will also learn that Russia's long-term aim in expanding its territory was to become a rich and powerful European nation.
Tartars (also known as Mongols) were fierce horsemen from central Asia who raided Russian cities during the 1300s and 1400s. The Tartars looted then burned every town they came to. They also collected taxes and took captives whom they used as human shields in later attacks. They kept Russia isolated from western Europe. The Eastern Orthodox Church, the dominant faith in Russia in the 1400s and 1500s, was opposed to the Roman Catholic Church which dominated western Europe. The combined effect of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Tartar control was to isolate Russia from western Europe. This is, in part, why the Renaissance did not affect Russia until much later than it did in western Europe and partly why Russia was backward in relation to these countries.
Ivan III freed Russia from Tartar control and attempted to expand Russia's
borders towards western Europe. Ivan IV continued what Ivan III had started.
These two early Russian leaders succeeded in expanding Russian territory.
Ivan IV was the more ruthless of the two. Ivan III became known as Ivan
the Great and Ivan IV earned the nickname, Ivan the Terrible. Students
will play the roles of members of the various segments of Russian society
in the time of Ivan III and Ivan IV, and given information on the period,
will discuss the events of the leaders' rule.
First, tell students this is the story of how Russia became the largest country in the world.
Ask: Where is Russia located? (Europe and Asia) Ask: What is Russia's climate like? (cold) Tell students that Russia's cold climate and isolated location made Russian leaders want to expand into neighboring territory.
Point out Russia's location in Europe and Asia on a classroom-size political map of the world. Direct students' attention to the compass rose on the map and emphasize that France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, etc. (point them out), countries studied in prior Geography lessons, are located in western Europe while Russia, which lies to the east of these countries, is located in eastern Europe and Asia.
Inform students that present-day Russia is the largest country in the world and illustrate this point by telling students that when it is nine in the morning in Moscow to the west (point it out), on the eastern or Pacific coast of Russia (point it out), it is seven in the evening.
Remind students that in prior lessons in Geography, and especially regarding the growth of Poland (point it out) and Germany (point it out), and the founding of the Czech Republic (point it out), they learned that national boundaries change. Ask students to guess whether Russia was founded at her present size or whether Russian territory expanded gradually (expand gradually).
Tell the students that in this lesson, they will learn how Russia expanded its territory, who did it, when, and why. Then, explain to students that just as an individual needs a plot of land to live on, a country needs a territory on which to exist. Divide the class into two groups called 'A' and 'B' and ask the students to visualize A and B as two neighboring countries. Explain that the groups that make up both the nations of A and B are: the leader, the princes, the tradespeople, and the small farmers.
On the board or on chart paper, draw a map consisting of four concentric circles. The two outer concentric circles define a road labeled 'Trade Road.' Trade Road forms a circle around country A. Country A is a circular piece of land enclosed within Trade Road. Enclosed within country A is country B. Country B has no direct access to Trade Road. Ask group A to look at the drawing on the board or on chart paper and with that new information, determine why country B wants to buy their land (access to Trade Road).
Ask group B: Why does your country need access to Trade Road? (trade with the outside world) Ask group A: What is your response to B's offer to buy part of your land? Explain to the students that during that period, countries did not sell their territory to other countries.
Tell group B that group A has declined their first offer to buy A's land, and ask group B: What are you going to do about it? Ask students to speak to the class in the roles of leaders, princes, tradespeople, and small farmers and suggest the course of action they would take against group A for refusing to sell its land to country B. Tell the students which solutions are practical for a country of that period, which may keep the peace, and which may lead to war.
Explain to students that in the 1400s and 1500s, Russia's situation was similar to country B's in the scenario portrayed in the map. Russia was surrounded by land. Explain that two principal Russian leaders of the time were Ivan III and Ivan IV. Tell students, however that Sweden was not the only neighbor Russia had but that there were other neighboring countries such as Poland to the west and Turkey to the south (point them out on the classroom-size map).
Distribute copies of the political map of Russia to students and put up a transparency of the same. Explain the key to the map, point to the map's outline, refer to the key, tell students this is the border of present-day Russia. Then, point to the area around Moscow, refer to the key, and explain that this is the map of Russia in 1462. Ask students to estimate how much bigger Russia is today than Russia was in 1462 (more than twenty times).
Point to the area north of the territory of 1462, refer to the key, and tell the students this is a map of the area added to Russia by 1505, at the death of Ivan III. Ask students to estimate how much larger Russia's territory was in 1505 than it was in 1462 (roughly three times). Point to the area south of the territory of 1462, refer to the key, and tell the students this is a map of the area added to Russia by 1584, at the death of Ivan IV. Then, point out the Arctic Ocean, the Baltic Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Ask students to look at the map of Russia on the transparency and determine what feature there is similar to Trade Road in the earlier scenario (Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea, Arctic Ocean are equivalents of Trade Road).
Ask students to take a moment to observe the highlighted sections of the map (Russia in 1462, Russia in 1505, Russia in 1584) and prepare to do the following. First, tell in which directions Russia expanded its territory between 1462 and 1584. Second, justify or explain why Russia needed to expand in these directions. You may allow students to consult with one another for these two minutes. Then, ask volunteers to submit their answers orally to the class (Russia expanded westward toward the Baltic Sea, northward toward the Arctic Ocean, and southward toward the Caspian Sea).
In order to help students find the reasons for Russia's expansion, write '1505, death of Ivan III' and '1584, death of Ivan IV' on the board or on chart paper, and ask students to refer to the history time line they have been keeping in class, and determine where the reigns of Ivan III and Ivan IV should be placed.
Ask: What were the two most powerful European nations in the 1400s and 1500s during the Age of Exploration? (Spain and Portugal) Then, ask: What were Spain and Portugal in search of during the 1400s and 1500s? (a sea route to the east) Ask: What made Spain and Portugal powerful? (sea trade).
Ask the students: Why did Russia expand toward the seas? Emphasize that Russia expanded its territory towards the seas to seek trade routes to western Europe (Germany, Sweden, England, France, etc.) in the same way Spain and Portugal had sent Christopher Columbus and Magellan to seek a sea route to the east which would compete with the 'silk road.' Ask the tradespeople and leaders of group B: Why do you prefer to trade using ships than the animal-drawn caravans that you have? (better for heavy transportation) Remind students that ships were the only means of overseas travel as the science and technology of airplanes had not yet come into existence.
Tell students that in the 1400s and 1500s Russia had not been touched by the exciting new ideas as Italy and western Europe were and that Russia was still a nation in the Middle Ages while western Europe enjoyed the Renaissance. Explain that Russia was not affected by the Renaissance because Russia was under the foreign domination of Asian horsemen known as Tartars or Mongols, who kept Russia isolated from western Europe. Explain also that in addition to Russia's isolation, the Russia of 1462 (refer to map) was landlocked (with land on all sides and no access to the sea).
Ask students to guess the approach Ivan III and Ivan IV took in order to solve the problem of Russia's isolation (war). Tell students that whereas Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal and King Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain financed overseas exploration, early Russian leaders tried to expand Russian territory in order to make Russia a powerful and wealthy country like Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and the other countries of western Europe.
Briefly review the preceding information by asking the following questions.
What did Russia want most of all in the 1400s and 1500s? (end isolation)
Why did Russia want to end its isolation? (in order to become wealthy and
powerful) Who helped Russia end its isolation? (Ivan III and Ivan IV) How
did Ivan III and Ivan IV try to end Russia's isolation? (conquering neighboring
Ask the students who were part of group A to consider themselves Russia under Ivan IV, group B becomes Russia under the leadership of Ivan III. Ask that two members of each group become historians (writers of history), while one student becomes the leader or czar of Russia, two or three students become princes or boyars, a larger number becomes tradespeople or merchants and the largest number of students becomes small farmers or serfs. Instruct the students to keep their own notes during this activity since these notes will be used to complete their home assignments. Explain that the czar or leader has limitless powers over his subjects, the boyars or princes own large estates which they rent out to serfs or small farmers in exchange for rent, and serfs are neither slaves nor freemen but somewhere in between the two. Explain that serfs have no rights, they must stay on their estates, and that if they escape they may be put to death if caught. Explain to students that the merchants or tradespeople buy and resell goods for a profit and historians write the records of the present or past and make judgements, too.
Then, present the attached fact sheets on Ivan III and Ivan IV to both groups and ask the members of the groups to read the information and prepare to present their complaints or accomplishments to the historians. Groups should work independently and simultaneously. Explain that each student is to report orally to the historians accomplishments or complaints that affect them, and that the historians will make notes of the information on chart paper or on the board for all to see at the end of the discussion. Students will report to the historians one at a time. First, the czar, then boyars, merchants, and serfs will do so. Explain that the historians' role will be to decide whether the czar accomplished what he set out to do and whether what he achieved was worth doing at all.
At the end of the groups' discussions, bring the class together, and tell students that Ivan III is also known as Ivan the Great and Ivan IV is known as Ivan the Terrible. Ask the historians from each group to justify (give reasons for) the title of Ivan the Great and Ivan the Terrible and invite all other students to discuss whether these titles are suitable or not. Ask: Who reports on the events that took place in history? (historians) Ask: Who decides that a figure in history is great or terrible? (historians)
Finally, tell students that Ivan III is called Ivan the Great because
he expanded Russian territory and Ivan IV is known as Ivan the Terrible
because of the great cost in human lives of his reign.
Ask your students to complete one of the following writing activities at home.
1. Ivan III is known as Ivan the Great. Do you agree that Ivan III was great? Write your answer in the form of an essay. Use the following format.
Opening sentence: State your answer to the question "Do you agree that Ivan III was great?"
Paragraph 1: Some people may not agree with your point of view. They may hold the opposite view from yours. Give two reasons (from your notes) why some people may hold a different opinion of Ivan III than the one you hold of him.
Paragraph 2: Now, it is time to justify your point of view (expressed in the opening sentence). State two reasons (from your history notes) why you hold the opinion you do of Ivan III.
Closing sentence: State, once again whether you agree or disagree that Ivan III was great. Summarize paragraph one (why others hold the opposite view from yours), summarize paragraph two (why you hold the point of view you do). Finally, if you disagree that Ivan III was great, suggest a more appropriate nickname for him.
2. Ivan IV is known as Ivan the Terrible. Do you agree that Ivan IV was terrible? Write your answer in the form of an essay. Use the following format.
Opening sentence: State your answer to the question "Do you agree that Ivan IV was terrible?"
Paragraph 1: Some people may not agree with your point of view. They may hold the opposite view from yours. Give two reasons (from your notes) why some people may hold a different opinion of Ivan IV than the one you hold of him.
Paragraph 2: Now, it is time to justify your point of view (expressed in the opening sentence). State two reasons (from your history notes) why you hold the opinion you do of Ivan IV.
Closing sentence: State, once again whether you agree or disagree that
Ivan IV was terrible. Summarize paragraph one (why others hold the opposite
view from yours), summarize paragraph two (why you hold the point of view
you do). Finally, if you disagree that Ivan IV was terrible, suggest a
more appropriate nickname for him.
You may ask your students to discuss the following questions in class.
1. The reason given for Ivan III and Ivan IV's expansion of Russia's territory was to make Russia wealthy and powerful. Could there be other reasons why a leader might want to expand his territory? What reasons might these be?
At the end of the lesson, you may ask your students to reflect on this question, and to write down the answer in one paragraph.
1. If you were President of the United States of America, how would
you like historians to write about you? How would you ensure that historians
write about you that way?
Ivan III ruled Russia from 1462 to 1505, more than thirty years. He
came to power at age twenty-two. In 1480, Ivan III freed Russia from Mongol
or Tartar (foreign) control. Ivan III then conquered neighboring territories
and extended Russia's borders in every direction. He cut off the food supplies
of his foreign enemies and let them starve. By the time Ivan III died,
he had tripled the size of Russia. Ivan III started a kind of feudal system
in which he granted lands to the boyars or princes. In return for this
land, the boyars gave Ivan military service. Ivan III took political control
away from the boyars. During his reign, Ivan III made Moscow the center
of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Ivan III built several magnificent churches
in Moscow. They still stand today, after four hundred years. Ivan III made
Moscow the home of a grand royal court. Russia knew a period of peace and
stability after the reign of Ivan III, who is considered the founder of
the Russian state.
Ivan IV was the grandson of Ivan III. He became czar in 1547 and ruled Russia until his death in 1584. At the age of thirteen, Ivan had his adviser executed and started to rule Russia all by himself. Ivan IV liked to torture and behead his enemies. His private security roamed the country punishing his enemies. Ivan IV conquered neighboring territories and expanded Russian territory over the Ural Mountains east into Siberia. Ivan IV murdered hundreds of landowners whom he suspected were traitors. He killed church leaders who were opposed to him. In 1547, Ivan IV had himself crowned Czar (also spelled tsar), the Russian word for Caesar, or Roman leader. Ivan IV was moody. He killed his favorite son by accident during a temper tantrum by striking him over the head with an iron staff. It was said that he loved one person; his wife. People thought him mad. Ivan IV was the first of their all-powerful Russian czars. A period of strife and civil war followed Ivan IV's reign.
Fifth Grade - World History - Lesson 21 - Russia: Early Growth and Expansion (Part 2)
Discuss the reign of Peter the Great of Russia.
Discuss the reign of Catherine the Great of Russia.
Discuss the effects of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great's rule on Russian serfs.
Discuss to what extent Peter the Great and Catherine the Great succeeded
in bringing Russia out of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.
Physical and political map of Russia, attached (for transparency and one copy per student)
Fact sheet containing notes on Peter the Great and Catherine the Great
Sentence strip containing time line begun in prior World History lessons
Pictures of Catherine the Great, Peter the Great, buildings, and other
artifacts of the period, where available
Resnick, Abraham. Russia: A History to 1917. Chicago: Children's
Press, 1983. This book is written in language appropriate for fifth graders.
It contains detailed histories of the area and color portraits of Peter
the Great and Catherine the Great. Use this book as a visual aide in class.
Hirsch, E. D. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
________. What Your 4th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Lepine, Simone. "The Commonwealth of Independent States." The Mailbox:
Intermediate, Feb./Mar, 1996, pp. 3-10.
This is a lesson on the political and social history of Russia. It must follow Geography Lesson 12 and World History Lesson 20, which provide some background on Russia.
In Third Grade World History (Eastern Roman Empire), students were introduced to the idea that Russia became the new center of the Eastern Orthodox Church after 1453. In Second Grade Geography, students were introduced to the location of Russia. Russia's location was presented briefly in Lesson 89 in Reading Mastery V.
In this lesson, students will learn that Peter the Great and Catherine
the Great were Ivan III and Ivan IV's successors. First Peter, then Catherine,
continued during the 1600s and 1700s, to free Russia from isolation by
expanding Russian territory. As the countries of western Europe advanced,
leaving Russia farther and farther behind, Peter the Great and Catherine
the Great tried harder and harder to make Russia a western nation and to
take their country out of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. Unfortunately,
the serfs were increasingly taxed in order to finance foreign wars. The
serfs' numbers increased, their conditions deteriorated, and they revolted
against the government.
First, remind students that in the previous lesson in World History, they learned that Russia's main problem in the 1400s and 1500s under Ivan III and Ivan IV was its isolation. Ask: What does it mean that Russia was isolated? (landlocked, little access to sea) Ask: What did isolation cause? (little trade, poverty) Ask: How did Ivan III and Ivan IV try to end Russia's isolation? (expansion towards the sea) Ask: Did Ivan III and Ivan IV succeed in making Russia as rich and powerful as Spain, Portugal and the major countries of western Europe? (no)
Tell the students that in this lesson, they will learn how Peter the Great and Catherine the Great (Write these names on the board or chart paper.) tried to end Russia's isolation, and make Russia as rich and powerful as Spain or Portugal were, and the problems this caused, especially for the serfs. Ask students to recall their discussion of the nicknames of Ivan the Great and Ivan the Terrible during the previous lesson, and ask: What do you expect to find out about a leader who is nicknamed "the Great" as are Peter and Catherine? (Accept reasonable answers.)
Remind students that in the 1600s and 1700s, much to the credit of Ivan III and Ivan IV, Russia was much larger and extended farther to the west than it had ever done before. Tell the students, however, that even after the reign of Ivan IV (ended 1584), Russia still had little access to seaports and international trade. Explain too, that in addition to the fact that Russia was isolated, Russia then faced a worsening problem; poverty.
Distribute copies of the political map of Russia to students and put up a transparency of the same. Point to the key to the map, and then to the borders of present-day Russia. Point to the eastern region of Russia (including Siberia), refer to the key to the map, and tell the students this area was added to Russia by 1725, the time of death of Peter the Great. Ask students to estimate the relative size of this recently-added territory (estimated four times the size of Russia before 1584). Point to the western and southwestern regions, refer to the key to the map, and tell the students that this territory was added by 1796, the time of death of Catherine the Great. Ask: In terms of expanding Russian territory, how would you judge the achievements of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great? (great, successful)
Write '1725, death of Peter the Great' and '1796, death of Catherine the Great' on the board or on chart paper. Ask students to determine where both these dates should be placed on the time line that your class has been keeping and add these dates to the time line.
Remind students that when Peter the Great came to power in Russia in 1682, western Europe had been enjoying its Renaissance for over a hundred years, and Russia was still in an earlier era. Ask: What era would Russia be in if she had not yet entered the Renaissance but was lagging behind? (Middle Ages) Emphasize that Russia in the 1600s and 1700s was effectively in the Middle Ages while western Europe was enjoying its Renaissance.
Explain that whereas Ivan III and Ivan IV had mainly tried to expand Russian territory in order to make Russia rich and powerful, Peter the Great and Catherine the Great tried to change the customs of the Russian people themselves in order to make Russia modern, rich and powerful as were Spain, Portugal and other western European countries.
Tell students that in order to develop rapidly, Russia not only needed to expand towards seaports where overseas trade could continue all year long, Russia decided to adopt western European ways of government and western European social customs, too. Tell the students that this means Russian leaders chose to westernize (Write the word on the board or on chart paper.) as a way to catch up with Spain and Portugal and become as modern, rich, and powerful as the countries of western Europe.
Ask the students to form two groups, Group One and Group Two. Distribute
the attached fact sheet containing notes on Peter the Great and Catherine
the Great. Each student will receive notes on both Peter the Great and
Catherine the Great, but will work on only one of these two leaders in
class. Assign Peter the Great to Group One and Catherine the Great to Group
Explain to students that they should read the notes and reorganize these notes under the following headings. The first is, Ways in which Russia resembled a medieval country during the rule of ....... the Great. The second is, Ways in which Russia resembled a Renaissance country during the reign of ........ the Great.
Before they start the exercise, ask the students of each group: Do you recall what it was like to live in a medieval country and what it was like to live in a Renaissance country? On the board or on chart paper, and under separate columns titled "Middle Ages" and "Renaissance," list the features of each society. The Middle Ages was characterized by the power of the church, weak monarchs, widespread serfdom, and warring fiefdoms. The Renaissance was characterized by a smaller role in politics for the church (separation of the powers of church and state), the rise of unified kingdoms, monarchs with unlimited power, ideas demanding personal liberty, increased social justice, better access to education, and advancements in navigation, military science, and engineering.
Explain to students that they should list their points in note form
and that they do not have to write complete sentences. At the end of the
silent reading, call on individuals from both groups to submit their answers
to the class. Write the main points of their contributions on the board
or on chart paper. Finally, ask students to determine whether and how much
progress had been made during the reign of Peter the Great and Catherine
the Great, and to justify their answers.
You may ask your students to discuss the following question.
1. Imagine that you were an adviser to the leader of poor country which wanted desperately to become powerful and wealthy, what would you advise its leader to do and not do?
PETER THE GREAT
Peter the Great took control in Russia in 1682. He wanted to bring Russia out of the Dark Ages and make Russia a western country. This meant making Russia a modern, powerful, and rich country very much like Spain or Portugal. Peter decided the best way to build his country was to westernize Russia, which means adopting the ways of Western Europe. In 1697, Peter became the first czar to leave Moscow when he went to Holland to study shipbuilding. He even worked as a shipbuilder in Holland. While in Europe, he hired a thousand scientists and engineers to come to Russia to help develop his country.
Peter the Great wished to speed up the modernization of Russia and tried to "westernize" Russia by force. He forced Russians to wear western European clothes. Women had to attend parties, which they were not allowed to until then. He placed a tax on beards because he thought long facial hair was not modern. He even took his shears and cut off the beards of some of his princes.
He, too tried to break Russia from isolation. Peter built a powerful army with western European advisers and ammunition. After the Swedish army attacked Moscow, Russia fought the Swedish from 1709 to 1721 until Russian soldiers pushed the Russian border to the Baltic Sea. Peter built a new capital city on these newly conquered lands near the Baltic Sea and named it St. Petersburg, after himself. St. Petersburg was built in stone like the cities he had visited in Europe, not out of wood like other Russian cities. He considered St. Petersburg a "window on the west" because it was a meeting point between western Europe and Russia. By building St. Petersburg, Peter had expanded Russia farther than any leader before him. Under Peter the Great, Russian government became more organized. Peter also built the first Russian fleet (armed forces based on ships) in the Black Sea.
In order to finance his foreign wars, Peter raised more and more taxes on the serfs of Russia. These heavier taxes and enforced labor made life more miserable for the serfs and the serfs of Russia continued to be the poorest small farmers in all of Europe.
CATHERINE THE GREAT
Catherine the Great was a German princess who, at the age of fifteen married into the Russian royal family. Catherine took over the Russian throne in 1762, at the age of twenty-three. She ruled Russia with unlimited power. Catherine separated the powers of the church and the state, which means the church had to administer to the souls of Russians and get out of politics and politicians were to stop imposing taxes on the church and stop interfering in religious matters. Catherine also seized the church's lands and distributed them to her friends.
Catherine was an intelligent woman who loved new ideas. In the 1700s, the most interesting ideas were those favoring freedom, liberty, equality in society and a democratic government. Catherine tried to put these ideas into effect in Russia. As a result, she created a new system of law. Catherine the Great created schools and colleges. She even tried to create a new government in which people from all over Russia could be represented.
Catherine's army fought the Turks to get Russian ships and trade routes
on Black Sea and by 1774, Russia was building the port of Odessa on that
southern sea. The Black Sea (unlike the Baltic Sea) contains warm-water
ports that are free of ice even in winter. This allowed for shipping all
through the year. Under Catherine, Russia became an international power,
but Catherine was extravagant and self-centered. She had many palaces (some
of which still exist today). Catherine is known to have made a trip to
visit lands conquered in the south using a convoy of one hundred and fifty
sleighs. Just as happened during Peter the Great's reign, under Catherine
the Great, more farmers were forced into serfdom than ever before. Towards
the end of her reign, many serfs revolted and attacked the government,
destroying property and causing bloodshed. For many years after Catherine's
death, Russia continued to have large numbers of the poorest small farmers
Fifth Grade - World History - Lesson 22 - Feudal Japan: Politics
Compare the social classes that made up feudal European and Japanese societies.
Compare the steps feudal European and Japanese societies took in order to become unified states.
Discuss the relative merits of policies of openness and isolation as
they relate to Japan and Russia respectively (optional activity).
Diagram of triangles depicting the structure of feudal society, attached (for transparency and one copy per student)
Diagram of triangles depicting the structure of feudal society, annotated for teacher use (attached)
Chart and fact sheet containing notes for student activity (one copy per student)
Answer key for student activity
Sentence strip for time line begun in earlier History lessons
Pictures of shoguns, samurai, and emperors, etc., where available
Jacobsen, Karen. Japan. Chicago: Children's Press, 1982.
This book contains two color pictures of shoguns.
Hirsch, E. D., Jr., ed. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
Pitts, Forrest, R. Japan in the Global Community. Grand Rapids: Gateway Press, Inc., 1985.
Contains information on the feudal period which may offer more detailed
background on the period. Also contains pictures of emperors, shoguns,
samurai, etc. which you may use as visual aides in the classroom.
This lesson focuses on the feudal period in Japan. The first shogun (SHOW-gun) or military general Yoritomo started the feudal system in 1185. For four hundred years afterwards, rival families fought each other for the right to rule Japan. The emperor was weak, the shoguns were strong, and Japan suffered a long period of civil war. Then, in 1603, shogun Togugawa unified all of Japan. Japan remained a united nation under succeeding shoguns. In the late 1800s, the emperor was once again strong enough to rule Japan. Later, traditional titles were outlawed and Japan made a rapid transition into a modern state.
This lesson must follow Geography Lesson 13, which provides some background information on Japan's location and climate. In prior lessons, in Fifth Grade History, students learned that Dutch seamen traded with Japan in the 1600s. In Second Grade Geography, students were introduced to modern-day Japanese culture, including traditional costumes, crafts, and holidays. Japan's location is briefly mentioned in lessons 54 and 55 in Reading Mastery III and in Lesson 60 in Reading Mastery IV. "A Tale of the Oki Islands" also known as "The Samurai's Daughter" is part of January's Literature texts. It includes information on the physical geography of these Japanese islands as well as on the code of the samurai (SAM-oo-ri) or professional warriors.
In prior History lessons in the fifth, fourth, and second grades, students learned the classes that made up European feudal societies (kings, lords, knights, and serfs, etc.) and that with the passage of time, and especially with the onset of the Renaissance, kings gradually seized control from the lords and unified their respective countries under one central government. In prior lessons, the terminology used to designate various social classes has varied and one group (serfs) has been used to represent an entire class (peasants), but students can be expected to understand the relationship of one social class to the other.
In this lesson, students will recall the structure of European feudal
society (nobles, clergy, peasants), transfer this knowledge to feudal Japan,
recall the steps taken by European countries to become unified nations
(fiefdom, kingdom), and relate this knowledge to the unification of Japan.
Given information about Japan, students will also complete a chart and
if time permits, discuss the merits of policies of isolation or openness
based on the information that was organized into the chart. The Suggested
Books section of this lesson indicate materials that may be used as visual
aides to enhance the lesson.
Remind students that in prior History lessons about western Europe (England, France, Spain, etc.), and Russia, they learned about the Middle Ages. Ask: What is the Middle Ages? (period between fall of Rome [500s] and Renaissance [1500s]) Ask: How would you describe the Middle Ages? (religious, superstitious, dark, unhappy)
Ask: Would you have liked to live in the Middle Ages? (Answers may vary.) Ask: Had you lived in the Middle Ages, what social class would you have preferred to be born into (nobles, kings, lords, knights) and why? (wealth, power) Ask: What if you were not born into the class of nobles (lords, kings, knights), what class would you have chosen (clergy, pope, cardinals, bishops, priests) and why? (often as much power and wealth as nobles) Ask: What social class would you least like to be a part of (peasants, farmers, builders, craftspeople) and why? (poorest, least powerful of all). Ask: Can you recall the name given to the system of government and the way of life that existed during the Middle Ages? (feudalism, feudal system)
Tell students that Japan was a feudal state between 1185 AD and 1603 AD. Ask: How does the feudal system work? (giving land in exchange for protection) Ask: What social classes would you expect in feudal Japan now that you know that Japan was once a feudal society? (nobles, clergy, peasants) Note that students have not been introduced to the systematic use of the terms clergy, nobles, and peasants. (See Teacher Background.) The terms will be introduced later in this lesson.
Ask the students to determine where the dates 1185 and 1603 should be placed on the time line you have been keeping in the class. Ask: At the start of feudalism in Japan in 1185, did the feudal system already exist in Europe? (yes) Ask: In 1600, when the feudal system ended in Japan, did the feudal system continue to exist in western Europe (no) and Russia? (yes) Emphasize that while western Europe was enjoying its Renaissance, Japan was still a feudal society.
Put up a transparency of the triangles depicting the social classes that made up feudal society. Tell the students that the triangles show the ways in which feudal society was organized. Have students read aloud the terms "nobles," "clergy," and "peasants" from the transparency. Explain briefly that these terms refer to the social classes in a feudal society and that as a class, each term includes social groups that they may already be familiar with (nobles: king, lords, vassals, knights, etc.; clergy: pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, etc.; peasants: craftspeople, builders, serfs, etc.)
Tell students that the triangles give three important pieces of information about a feudal society. Tell students that if they are able to describe certain aspects of the shape of the triangles, then they will have grasped the three pieces of information that the shape gives about the make-up of feudal society. Ask students to observe the triangles closely and volunteer to explain the three pieces of information that they give (triangle has height [apex to base], width [along base], and is subdivided by rungs into a ladder from base to apex). Point out these three aspects of the triangles to the class.
Ask: What do the triangles' subdivisions into levels tell about feudal society? (divided into classes) Ask: How many classes are shown in the triangles? (three) Explain that the solid lines (point them out) that subdivide the triangles show that it was difficult, nearly impossible to change the classes people belonged to, because people were born into social classes. Explain however, that within each social class, there were social groups (king, lords, vassals, knights, etc. made up class of nobles; pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, etc. made up class of clergy; farmers, builders, craftsmen and serfs, etc made up class of peasants), and people could change from one group to the other within their social class. Write the names of the social groups within the subdivisions of the triangle. (See the attached annotated triangle.) Draw broken lines to separate these social groups. Remind students that the solid lines separating the social classes meant that it was nearly impossible for people to change classes. Point to the broken lines separating social groups and ask: What do these broken lines mean? (possible to become member of another group) Illustrate this point by explaining that priests's ranks may change until a priest becomes a pope.
Point it out and remind the students that the triangle has height (base to apex). Ask: What does the position of the nobles (apex) tell about their rank in relation to the position of the peasants (base)? (nobles hold highest rank in society, above the peasants who hold lowest rank) Ask students to rank the social classes from bottom to top (peasants, clergy, nobles) and to read these aloud in that rank order.
Point it out and remind the students that the triangle also has width (along base). Ask: What does the width of the base of the triangles tell about the number of members in any class? (greater width means larger number of members in class) Ask: Which social class in feudal society had most members? (peasants) Ask: Which social class had the least members? (nobles) Point out to students that the nobles, who were the most powerful class had the smallest numbers, and the peasants, who had the least power of all, belonged to the largest class. Emphasize that the shape of the triangle (point out narrow apex and wide base) represents to all those who live in a modern democratic state just how unequal feudal society was.
Ask: Were the social classes that made up feudal society similar to those existing in a present-day modern, democratic society such as the USA? (no) Ask: Would the triangle be an appropriate shape to represent the structure of the society in the USA today? (no)
Remind students that under the feudal system, each lord made the laws that governed his estates, which he governed like independent countries. Ask: What were the territories governed by lords called? (fiefdoms) Ask: During the Middle Ages, were the kings weak or powerful? (weak) Ask: Was the clergy weaker or stronger than it is today? (stronger) Ask: Were the nobles strong? (yes) Ask: What became of the fiefdoms of Europe with the passage of time? (disappeared, united into kingdoms) Ask: How were kingdoms created? (kings grew stronger and united the fiefdoms by war) Ask: At whose expense did the kings become more powerful? (lords, clergy, peasants)
Tell students they are about to carry out an activity about feudal Japan
which will show how similar feudal European and feudal Japanese societies
Distribute the fact sheets containing notes on feudal society and the chart to the students. Ask students to read the instructions on completing the exercise. Remind students that they are to work individually. The following activity may also be led by the teacher. In this case, follow the instructions and have students note the correct answers on their chart.
Read the information about Japan contained in the fact sheet below.
Then, under the column titled "Japan," write the information where it best
matches that presented under the heading "Western Europe/Russia." Next,
under the column titled "Facts about Japan," write one fact that describes
or explains the second column "Japan."
FACT SHEET: THE FEUDAL PERIOD IN JAPAN (1185-1603)
The feudal period in Japan lasted from 1185 A.D. to 1603 A.D. Feudalism means exchanging land for protection from war. Japanese peasants who owned tiny parcels of land gave that land to a daimyo (DIME-yo). In return, the daimyo protected the peasant from the attacks by other daimyos who might wish to conquer the area in which he lived. Each daimyo hired samurai (SAM-oo-ri) who would fight in case other daimyos attacked. The samurai used special swords and armor. Samurai lived by a code of conduct which called on them to be brave, obey their daimyos, and be loyal to them even if it meant losing their lives. This code of conduct was called bushido (bush-EE-do). During the feudal period in Japan, there was an emperor, but he was weak because he shared power with the shoguns. Shogun means "emperor's general." A daimyo who had defeated his enemies and united their lands into a larger unit received the title of shogun. The shoguns were the ones who really ruled Japan during the feudal era, not the emperor. In 1603, Shogun Togugawa came to power. Togugawa united all of Japan under one government. But, in order to keep Japan united, Togugawa chased all foreigners from Japan. He made it unlawful to be a Christian. Togugawa reduced trade with other nations and even tried to prevent the Japanese people from traveling overseas. Togugawa went so far as to prevent the building of ships that would take the Japanese people overseas. Togugawa's aim was to stop the flow of new and foreign ideas into Japan. For two hundred years, the shoguns kept themselves, the daimyos, the samurai, clergy, and peasants of Japan from the rest of the world.
Western Europe/Russia Japan Facts About Feudal Japan
Middle Ages Feudal Period Exchange of land for protection
Ivan III Togugawa
At the end of the exercise, check for correct answers (See answer key attached.) and ask students to compare and contrast the feudal periods of Japan on the one hand and Russia and western Europe on the other. Emphasize that though the names of various social groups in these feudal societies varied, the relationships among the groups in each feudal society were largely the same. Invite students to place the terms "emperor," "shoguns," "daimyos," and "samurai," in the correct order of the appropriate subdivision of the triangle representing the groups that made up feudal Japanese society.
Emphasize, that whereas western European and Russian states sought to trade openly with the rest of the world once they had become unified states, Japan isolated itself from the rest of the world. Emphasize also that whereas Russia went to war with neighboring countries in its search for sea trade routes to the outside world, Japan had those routes and chose not to use them. Tell the students that in medieval Japan, women were less well regarded than women in medieval Europe were. Explain that they were expected to obey their husbands and were even forced into arranged marriages if that would make their families more powerful. Finally, tell students that although there was a clergy in Japan during the medieval era, it did not participate as directly in politics as the church did in medieval Europe. However, tell students that Shintoism demanded its followers' obedience to the emperor since he was believed to be a descendant of the sun goddess.
This may be the time to show students pictures of shoguns and samurai, etc. where these are available.
These activities may be modified to form a basis of classroom discussion or home assignments.
1. What advantages and disadvantages would a present-day country get from isolating itself from the rest of the world as Japan did in the 1600s and 1700s? Write one paragraph to describe the advantages and one paragraph to describe the disadvantages.
2. What steps would a present-day government of the USA have to take in order to isolate the USA from the other countries of the world? What would life be like if the present government succeeded in doing this? Do you think a government could possibly succeed in isolating the USA from the rest of the world? What would prevent it?
3. How would you stop the flow of ideas or products into the USA from overseas? What ideas or products would you stop from coming in if you could?
4. Do you think that Japan ended its self-isolation from the rest of the world? Look around you. What evidence do you have that Japan ended its self isolation?
5. Compare and contrast the feudal history of Russia and Japan.
6. What difficulties might a country such as Japan face in trying to unite?
7. Name the social classes that make up the United States today, choose a shape to represent the social classes that make up the USA.
8. Find a country on the map of the world that seems to you very isolated and write to its leader suggesting ways in which this country might become better known in the rest of the world.
Read the information about Japan contained in the fact sheet below.
Then, under the column titled "Japan," write in the information where it
best matches the information presented on European and Russian feudal societies.
Next, under the column titled "Facts about Japan," write one fact that
describes or explains the second column "Japan."
FACT SHEET: THE FEUDAL PERIOD IN JAPAN (1185-1603)
The feudal period in Japan lasted from 1185 A.D. to 1603 A.D. Feudalism means exchanging land for protection from war. Japanese peasants who owned tiny parcels of land gave that land to a daimyo (DIME-yo). In return, the daimyo protected the peasant from the attacks by other daimyos who might wish to conquer the area in which he lived. Each daimyo hired samurai (SAM-oo-ris) who would fight in case other daimyos attacked. The samurai (SAM-oo-ri) used special swords and armor. Samurai obeyed their daimyos and were loyal to them even if it meant losing their lives. Samurai lived by a code of conduct. This code of conduct was called bushido (bush-EE-do). During the feudal period in Japan, there was an emperor, but he was weak because he shared power with the shoguns (SHOW-guns). Shogun means "emperor's general." A daimyo who had defeated his enemies and united their lands into a larger unit received the title of shogun. The shoguns were the ones who really ruled Japan during the feudal era, not the emperor. In 1603, Shogun Togugawa came to power. Togugawa united all of Japan under one government. But, in order to keep Japan united, Togugawa chased all foreigners from Japan. He made it unlawful to be a Christian. Togugawa reduced trade with other nations and even tried to prevent the Japanese people from traveling overseas. Togugawa went so far as to prevent the building of ships that would take the Japanese people overseas. Togugawa's aim was to stop the flow of new and foreign ideas into Japan. For two hundred years, the shoguns kept themselves, the daimyos, samurai, clergy, and peasants of Japan from the rest of the world.
Western Europe/Russia Japan Facts About Feudal Japan
Middle Ages Feudal Period Exchange of land for protection
500's-1400s 1185-1603 Later than feudal period in Europe
King/Emperor Emperor Weak
Greater Lord/Boyar Shogun Strong
Vassal Daimyo Hired samuarai; protected peasants
Knight Samurai Professional fighters
Chivalry Code of Bushido Loyalty, obedience to daimyo
Ivan III Togugawa United Japan
Fifth Grade - World History - Lesson 23 - Feudal Japan: Religion
Compare and contrast Buddhism and Shintoism.
Discuss some ways in which religion affects life in Japan and the USA.
Classroom-size map of the world
Picture of a Shinto torii, attached (for transparency)
Picture of a Buddhist dharma wheel, The Four Noble Truths, and The Eightfold Paths, attached (for transparency)
Information on Buddhist and Shinto religions, attached (for transparency)
Pictures of statues of the Buddha, Shinto shrines, etc. where available
Edmonds, I. G. Buddhism. New York: Franklin Watts, 1978.
This book offers information on various aspects of Buddhism. It also contains black-and- white pictures of statues of the Buddha. You may use it as a visual aide to enhance this lesson.
Hewitt, Catherine. Buddhism. New York: Thomson Learning, 1995.
This book contains a very brief history of Buddhism. It also contains
color pictures of Buddhist icons and contemporary Buddhist culture. You
may use these pictures as visual aides to enhance this lesson.
Hirsch, E. D. Jr. ed. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New
York: Doubleday, 1993.
This is a lesson about Shintoism and Buddhism, two major religions in Japan. This lesson must follow History Lesson 22, which along with Geography Lesson 13, provide the background on Japan. In prior lessons in Fifth Grade History, students were introduced to the history of Dutch trade with Japan. In Second Grade Geography, students were introduced to the location of Japan. Japan's location was presented briefly in Lessons 54 and 55 in Reading Mastery III, and in Lesson 60 in Reading Mastery IV. "The Samurai's Daughter" also known as "A Tale of the Oki Islands" is part of January's Literature unit. This tale includes information on the geography of Japan as well as on the qualities of the samurai. Buddhism was a focus of study in Second Grade World Civilization. In the Fifth Grade this month, Art looks at the great Buddha.
Please note. According to the Core Knowledge Sequence, this lesson on Japan is meant to introduce Fifth Grade students to Shintoism and Buddhism, two religions of Japan. The approach to the subject will always be geographical, historical, and cultural; never theological.
Tell students that Shintoism and Buddhism are the two major religions in Japan and that those who practice Shintoism are called Shintoists and those who practice Buddhism are called Buddhists. Write the words "Shintoism," "Buddhism," "Shintoists," and Buddhists" on the board.
Put up the transparency showing information about the two religions and ask the students to observe the details and be prepared to use the information presented in the chart to answer the following questions about the two religions.
Ask: Did Buddhism start in Japan? (no) Ask: Where did Buddhism begin? (India) On a map of the world, point out the location of India, China, and Korea and tell students that Buddhism started in India and spread to Japan by way of China and Korea. Ask: Was Shintoism brought into Japan from overseas? (no) Emphasize that Shintoism is a religion that started in Japan and remains unique to Japan.
Ask students whether Buddhism and Shintoism are older than Christianity? (yes) Ask: What clue on the chart tells you both religions are older than Christianity? (Buddhism was founded in India about 600 BC, which means before Christ, the founder of Christianity, and Shintoism is older than Buddhism) Ask: Why is a specific starting date of Shintoism not known? (started very long ago, started among the people)
Ask: Who founded the Buddhist religion? (Prince Siddartha) Tell students that Prince Siddartha was born in 563 BC to a queen, who died a week after his birth. Explain that the young prince was raised in luxury but that at the age of twenty-nine, he left his wife and baby son behind, cut off his hair, put on the robes of a wandering monk, and went in search of the cause and the cure of suffering. Ask: What is your opinion of what he did? (Answers may vary.) Tell the students that the prince eventually found peace and spent the rest of his life teaching the poor and unhappy how to find happiness, or nirvana. Explain to students that this teacher, the founder of the Buddhist religion became known as the Buddha or "the enlightened one." Explain that the prince expressed the causes of suffering as The Four Noble Truths, and suggested The Eightfold Path as the cure for all suffering. Put up the transparency of the Buddhist dharma wheel, The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path. Explain that the dharma wheel is a visual represent-ation of Buddhist doctrine of the Eight-fold Path to Peace.
Ask: Why is there no mention of a specific person who founded Shintoism? (started very long ago, began among the people) Explain that Shintoism began in ancient history its beliefs credited to no one in particular. Shintoists believe that nature itself is sacred and there are gods everywhere. Explain to the students that Shintoists worship these nature spirits, called kami (KAH-mee) who live in rocks, lakes, trees, even in blades of grass. Tell the students that the followers of Shintoism build many outdoor wooden shrines and gardens to the kami and worship their ancestors and great heroes. Shintoists also believe that their emperor is a descendant of the sun goddess and is himself a god.
Tell students that there are many festivals in Japan and the Japanese people express these beliefs by participating in these festivals. Many towns have festivals and there are festivals for planting and reaping rice. During the festivals, the Japanese people dress in traditional costumes, eat and drink, and fly colorful streamers.
Tell students that a Japanese person may practice both religions, because he may be baptized and married in a Shinto shrine but buried in a Buddhist temple. Explain to students that if they were to visit Japan, they would notice that the landscape is very much influenced by these religions. Put up the transparency of the torii and explain that they would notice colorful wooden gateways or toriis built by Shintoists. Torii gates mark the entry to Shinto shrines. It is believed that walking under a torii gate will bring good luck. Torii gates are usually painted red, which is another sign of good luck. Tell students that Shinto shrines, often made of wood, are taken down and rebuilt every twenty years in Japan so that the building skills and secrets that go into building them are not forgotten. Ask students whether they think it possible to rebuild the cathedrals and
churches of Baltimore every twenty years. Explain to students that Buddhist shrines are a striking sight since they have curved roofs and beautiful towers.
Tell students that a society's religious beliefs influence everyday life, architecture, and social customs in many ways and show students pictures of religious festivals and symbols where available.
Ask students to form three groups that will each discuss one of the following questions and compile a list of answers that will be read to the class. Tell each group to choose a recorder who will make notes of each group's discussion. Tell the students that they are allowed five minutes to brainstorm for ideas to make up the lists and that at the end of that five-minute period, the recorder of each group will read the contents of their lists before the class.
1. What signs (pictures, statues, etc.) of religion can be found in public places such as parks and in the private homes of Baltimore City?
2. What religious festivals and holidays are observed in the United States?
3. How is everyday life in the USA affected by religion?
1. Religion of Japan 1. Religion of Japan
2. Started in Japan 2. Started in India
3. Started before 700 BC 3. Started in 600s BC
4. Founders unspecified 4. Founded by Prince Siddartha
5. Belief in nature spirits. 5. Respect for life and the
Reverence for ancestors. environment.
BUDDHIST DHARMA WHEEL
THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS OF BUDDHISM
1. There is suffering.
2. The cause of suffering is wanting.
3. Suffering can end completely.
4. The Eightfold path is the cure.
THE EIGHTFOLD PATH OF BUDDHISM
1. Right Understanding. 5. Right Work.
2. Right Thought. 6. Right Effort.
3. Right Speech. 7. Right Mindfulness.
4. Right Action. 8. Right Meditation.
Finney, Susan. The Revised Soviet Union: Independent Learning Unit. Carthage: Good Apple, 1993. (0-86653-738-4)
Flint, David. Russia: On the Map. Austin: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 1993. (0-8114-2491-5)
Lepine, Simone. "The Commonwealth of Independent States." The Mailbox: Intermediate, Feb./Mar., 1996.
Lye, Keith. Passport to Russia. Danbury: Franklin Watts, 1996. (0-531-14384-8)
Resnick, Abraham. Russia: A History to 1917. Chicago: Children's Press, 1983. (0-516-02785-9)
Russia Then and Now. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1992. Prepared by the Geography Department of Lerner Publications. (0-8225-2805-3)
Zeman, Anne and Kate Kelly. Everything You Need To Know About World
History Homework. New York: Scholastic, 1995. (0-590-49565-5)
Hirsch, E. D. Jr. ed. What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1993. (0-385-31464-7)
________. What Your 4th Grader Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1992. (0-385-31260-1)