Friday, October 17, 2014

Name your topic!

Checking in to see what kind of progress you are making on your research essay. By this point in the semester-long assignment you should have:
  • A clear, precise topic
  • Several primary and secondary sources
  • An idea of what your argument will be
Your paper is due in class on Tuesday, December 2.You should have most of your sources by the beginning of November and you should aim to begin writing your rough draft NO LATER THAN mid-November.

If you are still fine-tuning your topic or have not found your minimum required sources, please arrange to meet with me during office hours as soon as possible.

In the comments below, provide a concise summary of your research so far. What is the most interesting/intriguing/challenging thing you have discovered about your topic?

This post will be available for comments until Friday October 31.


  1. TOPIC: Slavery during the Civil War
    After doing some research about my topic I feel pretty comfortable with my topic and I was finally able to narrow it down to something more specific that was focusing on one precise topic! I still need some more research for more primary and secondary sources and I must begin to write my thesis statement, but as I was reading online to have a better idea of what my topic is mainly about, I learned some things that I was not so aware about before. One of the things I learned is that slavery caused the war, but the war did not actually begin with the purpose of freeing the slaves. At first, the war actually began to make a decision regarding weather the Confederate States of America would allow separating as an independent nation or weather the union that already existed could continue. However, only after the theme of slavery and emancipation became such a major conflict and concern during the Civil War, the nation decided that it was essential to put an end to this by freeing the slaves. (I did not find this information on one of the sources that I would be using as part of my essay, I went online and read some reliable websites to have a better understanding of the topic and have some things to keep in mind as I am writing my research paper. I JUST THOUGHT THIS WAS REALLY INTERESTING SINCE I AM FOCUSING ON SLAVERY IN SPECIFIC AND I WAS ALWAYS CONVINCED THAT THE CIVIL WAR BEGAN WITH THE PURPOSE OF ENDING SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES). Here is the link of the website:

  2. I have decided to discuss about the Emancipation Proclamation of (1863), which was published by President Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation relates to the freedom of slaves. President Lincoln was an abolitionist, and despised slavery. During Lincoln’s time in office, the former president assumed the Constitution did not grant him the power to free slaves. Despite of the Constitution limiting Lincoln's authorities, he became encourage to face the onerous steps to eradicate slavery as soon as possible.

  3. My topic is "Alexander Hamilton's economic policies". I would be arguing that Hamilton's economic policies were necessary and were beneficiary for the United States. Furthermore, I'll use counterarguments from the Jefferson's side, and establish the reasons why Hamilton's plan was better and promised more prosperity. The economic propositions/policies(i am not sure yet if i would refer to them as policies) I will be discussing will include the debt decision, single national currency,manufacturing over agriculture and the national bank issue. I have few scholarly articles on Alexander Hamilton and few on Thomas Jefferson. I am still in search of a book and primary sources. The most challenging part for me is finding sources, as I am focusing on economic issues mainly.

  4. My topic is the role of women during the American Revolution. As my sources indicate, women participated by being nurses, seamstresses, cooks, maids, soldiers, and spies. I was very surprised that women served as spies to eavesdrop on crucial troop information. A challenge I am facing as I am outlining my paper is the lack of primary sources. There are not a lot of women who were recognized for their war efforts because most of them did not keep memoirs. I will be mainly relying on Deborah Sampson's memoir to describe women's role during the war.

  5. Gold Rush
    My topic is about California’s gold rush and its impact. Gold rush had a huge impact on America. Gold was not just an expansive metal; it was something that gave people hope for freedom, a new life of opportunities, equality, and personal gain. After discovering the gold in California in 1848 by James Marshall, people around the world were stimulated to find gold. So in 1851, gold was discovered in Australia. Gold rush had improved trading, manufacturing, and financial institutions in the country. There was economical development. Also, gold rush caused the mass migration.

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  7. Trail of Tears
    My topic is about the Trail of Tears, and it's impact. I am looking at the impact it had on the Native Americans tribes, social and politically. Moving west affected the Native Americans tribes to dislike the U.S.A. Some tribes went to war in order to remain on there lands. The trail of tears is called an ethnic cleansing. Give more reasons to dislike the U.S.A. I am finding good amount of sources, a little hard finding scholarly articles. One main issue is finding research that doesn't repeat the same informative with an another one.

  8. My topic Is the Alantic Slave Trade. For many century's slavery was alive in many countries. The Atlantic slave trade was one way of importing slaves into the colonies. It allowed slave trades to bring what they thought were the best slaves into the colonies. I will be analyzing how the trade what set up. How the auctioned off the slaves, the travel conditions that went through, and the living conditions for Slaves during that time.

  9. My topic is the Culper Ring during the American Revolution. The Culper Ring was a spy ring that was organized by General Benjamin Tallmadge under the authorization of George Washington. During this time the British were taking over New York City. The two main spies in the Cupler Ring Abraham Woodhall who assumed the name Samuel Culper Sr. and Robert Townsend who took the name Samuel Culper Jr. as their aliases. General Benjamin Tallmadge the Culper Ring leader used John Bolton as his alias. The Culper Ring's goal was essentially to require information about what the British were doing in New York City and send that information back to General Washington.

    The most interesting aspect I have learned so far about the Culper Ring is that women were also involved, especially a woman named Anna Strong. The women who took part sneaked information about the British Army. I thought this was interesting to use women for because of the time period and how women weren't really seen as individuals yet but George Washington and Benjamin Tallmadge saw women as a great strategy because of their status in society.

  10. My topic is the initial draft of The United States Constitution and and how it is much more effective than The Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation was ratified by Maryland and put into effect on March 1, 1781. As a constitution, it failed to achieve a strong unity and the federal government appeared powerless in the face of state governments. In essence, the Articles of Confederation was a fair first attempt in establishing a government for the newly formed country. However, it extremely lacking and did not have power to back it. The United States Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation in June 21, 1988 when New Hampshire ratified it. The Constitution was much more fluid, cohesive, and impactful. The Constitution succeeded in numerous aspects that the Articles failed in, such a strong federal government.

  11. My topic is going to be about the Salem Witch Trials during the spring of 1692. During this time, around 150 different people were accused and around 20 were sent to the gallows and hung. Witchcraft had already been heard about in surrounding towns, and when it spread to this area, things did not go well.

    To preface, it was believed that women had intrinsically lustful natures that could be easily tempted into sin. This idea was a very common one in the Puritan way of thinking -- consider Adam and Eve. It is Eve's temptation that leads to all the evil in the world. In addition, Eve is subservient to Adam, a man, because she was born from one of his ribs.

    My research has lead me to believe that the Salem Witch Trials were largely because of a fear of the independence of women. Society was changing during this time, and people began to realize that they did not want to agree to every Puritan ideal there was, men and women. For women, this became problematic.

    I found a source that displays reason to believe that much of the hysteria and the symptoms that people had during this time could have been caused by disease brought by mosquitoes and exacerbated by harsh economic conditions -- cold winters that lead to food shortages.

    The most intriguing think to me so far in my research is that people were so willing to blame random people at the slightest suspicion. There had to be some serious paranoia, or anger, or scapegoating going on at this time. As I do further research, I hope to get to the bottom of this and find and answer.

    My argument will be something along the lines of:
    The Salem Witch Trials existed in a time of paranoia and used women as a scapegoat for economic hardships and fears about the independence of women.

    I think the above argument could be better written, but I wish to focus on those ideas.

  12. Topic: Slavery in the pre-revolutionary New England.
    I will be discussing about slavery in the North - Eastern colonies; when did slavery first appeared, how did it expand, how was it different from southern colonies, and what was the overall impact of it that changed the history of the colonies. The Dutch West India Company imported the first few slaves from Africa, but afterwards most of them came from the Caribbean islands and from domestic trade from the southern colonies. The most interesting fact I learned is that Dutch treated the slaves better than English did. They allowed several slaves couples to get married in the Dutch Reformed Churches, and they also allowed them to baptize their kids. In addition, those slaves had the opportunity to trade just like the free blacks, and they could accumulate property on their own. Slaves in the north were highly skilled and they continuously moved from job to job to satisfy the seasonal demand. These facts and much more will create a full picture of slavery in the Northern colonies.

  13. In my topic I am focusing on the U.S Constitution and it’s relation to the slave trade. I want to introduce the founders of the Constitution and elaborate on whether they were for or against the slave trade. What the compromises, political and economic issues they faced before and after the Constitution and how it led to the 13th amendment.
    Sources I have so far:
    1. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution
    John M. Harlan
    American Bar Association Journal, Vol. 50, No. 10 (OCTOBER 1964), pp. 918-920
    Published by: American Bar Association
    Article Stable URL:
    2. The Charters of Freedom:
    3. Exploring Constitutional Conflicts:
    4. Title: Washington, George 1732 – 1799.
    Authors: Royster, Charles
    Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; 2010, p1-15, 14p
    Accession Number: 51814342
    5. Title:Madison, James 1751 – 1836.
    Authors:Banning, Lance
    Source:Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; 2010, p1-7, 6p
    Lexile: 1540
    Accession Number: 51816975

  14. My Topic is Woman's role during the Civil War. My Argument is going to be that the civil war is an even that lead up to women fighting and rallying for their freedom. The civil war helped women figure out what they feel is their proper place should be. In my research paper I will be discussing the civil war, and how woman helped during the war. I will focus on how they helped during the war either on the battle field, in the household or for the nation. I will have to do more research and find out some names and stories of women that were important during this time, and hopefully I can find diary or journal entry primary sources of theirs. I have found a few good sources on the JSTOR database but I will have to stop by a library and look through some books to widen my sources. I found it really interesting reading how many women were voluntarily becoming nurses for the wounded on the battle field. It shows that a lot of these women were fearless, intelligent and nationalistic being that they wanted to help their side. The only challenging thing I find about my topic is finding scholarly papers about it. I've found a couple but I think I may need to dig deeper into the papers that I have found currently, look through their sources and maybe come up with a few of the ones that they used for their papers.

  15. Katherine Urena
    Topic: Women in the American Revolution
    As I was researching my topic, I discovered many of the roles women experienced during the revolutionary era. Women did not just stay home while, their husbands were fighting for liberty, women also served as Nurses and maids during this time. They helped the men that were injured in the war and they also cook for them. At the beginning of the war, not many nurses were present but in 1777, many nurses were needed to help the army. Many of this nurses were wives, daughters and mothers of soldiers. Women also helped as cookers, maids and laundresses and it was the first time women did this job in the military, because this positions were only for male soldiers. Also, women served as soldiers in the war. Even though, they were not allowed to be in the war, many of the cut their hair and enter the army. It is really impressive for me that women also served as soldiers during the revolutionary war. I really think women were very helpful and necessary during this time. Because they don't only work on their houses, they also serve to the army in many ways. For me the more difficult part of this research topic is finding primary sources. I just have two and I am not sure if it is enough for primary sources. I really like the topic, because I learned many facts that I did not know before.

  16. My topic is about the smallpox epidemic that occurred during the American Revolution and its' impact on the Continental army. The army faced many obstacles but one of the biggest threats soldiers faced during the revolution was their poor conditions of camps and shortage of food, which served as a breeding ground for smallpox. One of the interesting things, I have read and researched was that inoculation was not accepted because of religious views. And many of the sick were quarantined but it wasn't until George Washington saw that smallpox was spreading rapidly and causing high fatalities among the Continental Army, that he ordered for soldiers to be inoculated. In doing so, inoculation was proven to be an effective method in reducing fatalities from smallpox, and inoculation became more readily acceptable through the nation. In researching for primary sources, I found letters from George Washington to other generals ordering inoculation, and letters of Henry Knox to his wife Lucy Knox describing smallpox outbreaks, as well as forming the question of to what extent did smallpox inoculation save the Continental Army and help it succeed in the American Revolution.

  17. Topic: German Immigration in Colonial Period
    My main discussion of the topic will be about German immigration, settlement, and culture once they arrived in colonial USA. I will start with their settlement in Pennsylvania, and possibly Philadelphia in particular. I am very much interested in how their journey and process to America was similar and different to other countries that we have discussed in class. I want to uncover my inquiries about how they interacted with the natives/locals and how much of an influence they had over the area.
    My argument will uncover the lifestyle of the German settlers at this time period; how they protected themselves from enemies, how they avoided disease, their stance on trade with other nations, and their increase in migration. I also want to incorporate new and unique information that I will have to research, that no one really knows about. It's easy for a research paper to get monotonous but I do want to wow people with some interesting facts that give a real detailed and in-depth perspective of the topic at hand.

    Taylor Henne

  18. My topic will be the Gold Rush. My argument for this particular topic is that the Gold Rush not only brought an opportunity for ordinary people to completely reinvent their lives but it was also the cause of a massive tide of incoming immigrants. The Gold Rush provided a chance for people to change their lives and everyone who came to know about this wanted to try their luck. I will also utilize this essay to discuss how the Gold Rush impacted the United States and what changes were enacted during and after the Gold Rush. The essay will discuss how the Gold Rush changed society as a whole, making people more opportunistic. The Gold Rush opened a extremely large window of opportunity for civilians and allowed them to expand on whatever interest they preferred.

  19. My topic is the War of 1812.
    I am not to sure how i want to spin my argument but I want to talk about how politics influenced the War. Politics between the U.S, France and Britain. The argument would be to prove that politics was a crucial part in creating the conflict and certain precautions could have been taken to prevent this war. my sources include :

    1)"Free Trade and Sailors' Rights" : The Rhetoric of the War of 1812
    Journal of the Early Republic, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring 2010)

    2)The War of 1812: Still a Forgotten Conflict?
    Donald R. Hickey
    The Journal of Military History, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Jul., 2001

    3)Historical Dictionary of the War of 1812 by Robert Malcomson
    The Journal of Military History, Vol. 70, No. 3 (Jul., 2006)

    4)Encyclopedia of the War of 1812 by David S. Heidler, Jeanne T. Heidler
    Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 4 (Winter 1998), pp. 268-269

    5)American Trade Restrictions during the War of 1812
    Donald R. Hickey
    The Journal of American History, Vol. 68, No. 3 (Dec., 1981), pp. 517-538

    6)America and the War of 1812 by Eugene M. Wait
    Review by: Gene A. Smith
    The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 67, No. 1 (Feb., 2001), pp. 161-162

  20. My topic for this research paper will be on George Washington's contribution to the American Revolution. I will be discussing why he was a strong military leader during the war and how he was able to hold the military together. I will mention how he shifted the war and how he had a grand impact on how the war was played out. Although George Washington had never commanded such a huge army before, he was still able to control his army of men and with his courageous acts, had helped to bring independence for his nation. George Washington has had a large impact on how the Revolution has played out and i would like to write about his actions and heroic deeds to bring independence not only to white privileged men, but to slaves and women as well.

  21. My topic is the Underground Railroad and how it impacted American society and possibly how it affected the civil war. I will talk about how the Underground Railroad started, some of the abolitionists involved and the dangers it presented not only to the slaves making their way to freedom but also the slave owners. The underground railroad was a major part of the abolitionist movement as well as the Civil War. It was dangerous to work on this railroad and so I would also like to look into what happened to those that were caught, both the abolitionist as well as the escaping slaves.

  22. My topic is how slavery and the issue of women's rights are correlated, but also how the age of reformation change many of their rights and how they began to speak up. I wanted to first discuss how slavery and the issues of women's rights are similar. For example, with the loss of their identities, and submissiveness, etc. My research so far has been mostly focusing on how the age of reform inspired women. One thing that I found the most interesting was the Seneca Falls Convention because it was like the first real time women came together to fight for their rights. A possible thesis statement is: The lives of women were similar to those of slaves (I'll explain how through the different ways), however during the age of reformation, that began to change for the better and the women began to work towards obtaining new rights. That will not be exactly it, I will clean it up, but that is the gist of it.

  23. Emmanuel Maldonado: My topic is Slave rebellion. My objective is to concentrate on Gabriel Rebellion's impact nationally or in the state of Virginia (Or that specific plantation). I'd like to speak about the "slave position" and supply reasons why these rebellions took place. I would like to tie it to the Haitian Revolution which had already started and state how just 4 years after the rebellion, a nation of blacks formed and won its independence. This in a sense served as motivation or hope for other oppressed blacks, demonstrating to them that they too have the right to be free as individuals and not property. I would like to mention legislation what was in place that promoted black inferiority and unworthiness of freedom. Initially, how slave rebellions set off a domino affect for the belief that they too have rights and should be treated equally. I am still researching for more prominent sources, I did find a book by Douglas R. Egerton that seems good but I have to look into it more.

  24. My topic for my research essay is the Trail of Tears or in other words, the relocation of the Native American Indians. So far, the most intriguing thing that I have discovered about my topic is that prior to the forced relocation of the multiple tribes, almost all of these Natives were beginning to assimilate into American society. They developed their own towns, built schools, and established governments to promote peace. Despite all of these changes to their original lifestyles to become civilized like that of the people in the United States, they were still forced into the specified Indian Territory. I find this really interesting and important towards my research because it explains how Native Americans were willing to become different people and accept customs from a completely different culture and society, but their rights were still taken away from them and they were forced into a long route of misery, disease, and death.

  25. My research paper will focus on the tacticsand strategies used by the Americans during the revolutionary war to beat the British. This includes incorporating guerrilla warfare into the way that they fought and overcoming their lack of weapons, soldiers, and provisions. I would also go into detail about the major battles (wins and loses) and how their strategy affected the outcome.

  26. Although my topic may change, I am thinking about sticking with my first topic for now--the roles of women during the American Revolution, including the Revolutionary War. I thought it was interesting to find research on women and their jobs as not only house moms but many participated in the army. Women did not only cook and clean, but they were seamstresses, laundresses, and more. Women were also spies during military planning and troop movements. When I think of women, I think of all the women that fought to be recognized and struggled to have a real role in life. I want to focus on women because I have learned about how much women were excluded or looked down upon because of their sex, and I want to learn a lot about their roles and how they were significant during the American Revolution.

  27. The topic of my research paper will be religious cult, and spiritualism in the 19th century. This pertains to how people believe that the dead can communicate with the living. Some sources that I will be using are
    1. Author: George W. Samson
    Title: Spiritualism Tested
    Publisher: Boston: Gould & Lincoln

    2. Author: George Lawton
    Title: The Journal of Religion
    Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
    Pages 37-54

    3. Author: Molly McGarry
    Title: Ghosts of Futures Pasts: Spiritualism and the Cultural Politics of Nineteenth-Century America
    Publisher: University of California Press

  28. My topic is the role of the French and Indian War on the American Revolution. I will focus on various aspects of the French and Indian War that resulted in an increased desire for independence. For example, Britain increased taxes on the colonies to counteract the war debt. This caused discontent among the colonists. Other factors such as the Proclamation of 1763 also contributed to the declining support of Great Britain in North America.

  29. My topic is about the Treaty of Guadalupe and Mexico. I will talk about how in the treaty many rights were given to Mexicans but practically none of them were respected. This will lead to the how the life of Mexicans changed after Americans began to live with them.
    -Matias Madrid

  30. I'm not too sure on the thesis yet, but I'll be writing about Women's Role in politics and war (something along those lines until I think of a better way to phrase it). I'm moreorless going to focus on well-known women who have made a mark on history (Abigail Adams and Clara Barton), while connecting what they have done together and how it's important to our history.

    Sources so far:
    Midwife at a Nation's Birth: FIRST LADY OF THE REVOLUTION: The Life of Mercy Otis Warren. By Katharine Anthony. 258 pp. New York: Doubleday & Co. $3.95. Midwife at a Nation's Birth

    That Remarkable Woman, Abigail Adams: Mrs. Bobbe Writes an Interesting Biography of the Second First Lady of the Land

    Elizabeth B. Pryor. "Barton, Clara";;
    American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.

  31. Christine Kline

    Topic: Abraham Lincoln’s Compelling Impact on American Society
    Abraham Lincoln was a significant historical figure during his presidency between 1861 and 1865. He prevented the nation from splitting apart, gave many successful speeches, was extremely supportive to ending slavery, and ultimately help lead to the 13th amendment that abolished slavery. I think he is a very significant historical figure on American society and discussing his impact would be a great topic to write about. Abraham Lincoln is someone I have really enjoyed doing research about him and exploring more about his achievements and impact. I will defiantly be looking into documents such as the Emancipation Proclamation and his speeches such as the First and Second Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg Address. In addition to this I will be receiving information from the online databases and books from the library.

  32. My topic is George Washington's impact in America. Many people only know George Washington for being the first president and leading the revolutionary war, but that is all. My argument is that he impacted America in numerous ways both politically and through leading the war. I want to get into details of what he did during the war that made him the renowned leader he is. The most difficult aspect was finding scholarly sources that were published during recent times.

  33. My topic is how the did Industrialization and manufacturing in the North of the United States changed American's way of living and created sectionalism between the North and the South. What new technology and methods of creating goods was invented. The one interesting thing I have learned is the South was not impacted greatly by the market revolution, they sticked to slave labor and agricultural way of life. They planted their own food. They also saw the North's revolution as dangerous and corrupt, they thought being a slave is even better than wage labor.

  34. My topic is what led to the Salem Witch trials being as big as it was. I know that mist people say that it was due to paranoia caused by the natives that led to the citizens to believe in witchcraft but I still think that there is more to it. Especially since the the trials took place about 70 years after the Puritans settled there. This is what makes me think that there's more to it since they had been with the natives for a long time and all of a sudden they we're the blame for the fear of witches. Another reason I think there is more to it was that at this time there were witch trials happening in England as well, which meant that this was not an isolated incident caused by one thing.