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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World

Lesson C: China — Mongol to Ming Rule

Activity 3: Aggression in Today's World

The world's first empires rose in China and Europe during the Classical Period. The wealth and power of civilizations such as Rome, Han China, and the Mongols was built on military and economic might. Over time, many issues led to the fall of these empires. Empires during the modern era of world history also rose and fell due to these reasons.

Although we now live in a more global society, the United States could be considered an "empire" based on its economic and military might. However, many events from the past decade have shown the weaknesses of the U.S. as an empire.

Each of the following newspaper headlines reflect a threat to the economic and political security of the U.S.

Directions: Read the following newspaper headlines.

Nation in Mourning Following 9/11 Attacks Immigration Issue Divides Nation
Hurricane Katrina Devastates Gulf Coast Unemployment Rises as Recession Worsens
President Protests North Korean Missile Launch Crime Rates Worsen in U.S. Cities
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Classroom Activity - United States "Empire"

Discussion Icon Discussion

Directions: Prepare a response to the discussion questions below. Follow your teacher's directions to participate in your class discussion.

  • What issues threaten the stability of the U.S.?
  • How do these issues threaten the U.S. as an "empire?"
  • How can these issues be solved?

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Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool (pdf).


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Written Activity - Notebook

Select one of the headlines from those discussed above, and respond to the following questions in your notebook:

  • What is challenging the economic or political security of the U.S.?
  • Is this an example of an internal weakness or external threat?
  • Why is it difficult to solve this issue?

The challenges facing the U.S. in today's world are similar to those that led to the fall of the Mongol Empire in Eurasia. The Mongol Yuan Dynasty of China could not meet these challenges, and China came under the rule of the Ming Dynasty.

In the next activity, we will discuss the rise of the Ming Empire, and the challenges they also faced in China. Refer back to the previous discussion of empires to help you understand of the challenges faced by the Ming.