My Interesting Research Question

Finishing the second week of this course, I have gained more knowledge about US history than in my entire life, mostly by watching movies and reading articles. To my previous knowledge, the slaves were forced to work in the cotton fields and some other labour activities in different industrial sectors. It is interesting to know that the foundation of the “Greatest Country in the World” economy was covered in its dark history of using slaves.

I believe it was very heartbreaking to know that a European could just as easily get off the ship and become a citizen of the country. Whereas the slaves, who contributed greatly to the nation’s wealth and whose ancestors lived in the country for decades and centuries could not even be treated fairly. My interest in the readings so far led me to form this research question: Why could a European be considered to become a citizen whereas the slaves did not have any civil rights in their home country?

 In going further to answer my research question, the primary sources would be the books written by authors who lived in that time period and photographers. While reading their books, I could get a perspective of the author’s and view how they viewed the slaves and newcomers from other nations. Another primary source that would fit the description to answer my question would be the Linen Market, Dominica painting. The painting depicts the ships in the background and a white woman doing shopping in the linen market while all the black individuals are shown that they are below the white race, this also gives us a perspective of the painter itself.

I believe my question is clear, however, my findings could raise further questions regarding slavery in the US rather than reframing my research question.

The materials I would like to access are the history of the immigrants in the US and the nation’s GDP. I can analyse and track the nation’s wealth throughout history and relate them with my data with the history of immigrants. This will give me a clear perspective of how the black individuals contributed to the nation and how they were ignored to citizenship favouring a white race above all else. Other materials which are not digitized that I would like to access are the precise data of the income from exports in the period 1600-1800.

One thought on “My Interesting Research Question

  1. This research question begins to tap into an important theme: the construction of race. Race formation happened on a social and cultural level and could differ from colonial empire to empire. Spanish colonizers had very distinctive understandings of race, and they formed an entire social hierarchy based on one’s ethnic and class background. There are documents that trace how the Spanish constructed something like 30+ racial identities– not just “black” and “white”. In British North America, we see more of a black-white racial dichotomy take shape. There were some free people of color, but that number decreased between the colonial period (ca. 1600-1799) through the antebellum period (1800-1859). The methods you provide for obtaining sources would provide a good start as well.

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