Researching the Response to the Speech


Your task in this project is to learn something about how people reacted to the speech. Most of our access to this reaction is to be found in the media of the time. This assignment is difficult because it is hard to find research, not because there is so much. So, you need to be inventive and know how to access information. In addition, the sources you find may conflict. Frankly, I would also suggest that this assignment will be easier if you use the old method of using 3 by 5 cards to keep track of things you are finding in order to manage this disagreement.

Questions to Ask

Strategies for Research

  1. The first thing to do is to let the work of others work for you. Using an internet search engine, put in the speech. Surf the results to see what is said about responses to the speech. Watch carefully for differences on the various websites. Remember, however, that these are not well vetted information, so don't be surprised if you find they are exaggerated or even untrue.
  2. Next, look for biography and histories of the time that might comment on the response to the speech. Use indexes looking for references to the speech. You may have to look at many of these to find ones that actually comment on the speech.
  3. As a group, establish some timeframe for the media you are going to examine. This should be enough time after the speech is given that you are certain you are getting the immediate response. Generally from a week to a month.
  4. Then begin with magazines of the day. The earlier our speech, the less likely we are to find an active magazine-driven press. You will need to know which magazines commented on public affairs at that time in history. If there is a specialized content for the speech you will need to locate magazines aimed at those interests. For example, in research Susan B. Anthony you will want to consult the magazines published by the woman's movement; in researching Mother Jones, magazines focused on labor.
  5. Then turn to newspapers. Look at both national newspapers and local newspapers. Many of these will be on microfilm in McKeldin Library. You will need to locate those sources through the library catalog. Some newspapers are on-line and you will want to take advantage of those as well.
  6. You will find variation in the reports of response. You need to set down as a group and map those differences. What accounts for them? What perspective does the report come from? Can we tell anything about the response that actually occurred?

Preparing Your Oral Report

You will have fifteen minutes to present your findings. As a group, decide what things are important to report to the members of the class. Your effort must familiarize the class with the important elements of the specific context of this speech that we must account for. Formulate the important things into a report. Decide how you will present it orally. Time the presentation. You will be on the clock. Check with the criteria for the oral report to make certain you have planned a satisfactory presentation.

Preparing Your Bibliography

Select the 10-20 sources that when combined into a full bibliography meet the criteria specified for the assignment. You do not report all sources you consulted but select those when taken together best reflect your oral report. Remember, judging the sufficiency of your bibliography does not involve counting but meeting these criteria. Review the annotations to make certain they reflect the required information for each source. Then execute the honors pledge and hand it in.