This week I worked on the “outline and first two paragraphs” assignment. I had written a draft of an introduction paragraph some weeks ago as a sort of reference for the direction of my ongoing research. However, because the specifics of my topic have shifted slightly since then, the paragraph itself was largely useless for this assignment. In changing this introduction paragraph, I also changed my thesis statement to fall more in line with the refocusing of my topic.
I also heavily modified and formalized my existing outline. I found doing this the most helpful to me personally, because I had been feeling doubtful and anxious about the overall direction my research was headed: seeing a completed outline has made me much more confident and comfortable.
I have also begun working on the revisions to my historiography. One of the key notes I received from my initial draft was that I had not included any previous work that focused specifically on Washington’s 1793 Neutrality Proclamation. Because the assignment had been for five sources, it did not contain all of the sources I plan to discuss in the final paper. That said, it has been difficult to locate sources which focus on the proclamation. Thankfully, I have shifted my topic to more of a focus on the Democratic Republicans’ response to the proclamation, and how they were able to parlay the national debate around the proclamation into a key position of power following the 1796 presidential election. Because of this change of direction, the focus of my historiography has also shifted. Luckily for me, works on the early history and rise of the Democratic Republicans seem more readily available than works on the 1793 proclamation.