I am currently working on several papers for school. One is due next week in my English class and I am supposed to write a critical study for one of the short stories in our book for class. The other one is in my History class and due at the end of the semesters and counts as our final. We could do it on any historical subject in American History prior to 1865 (the class title as well). But its not that we can just wait until the end of the semester and write it all at the last minute. We have several deadlines in class that will be graded that get us through major steps. Our first one was the topic – with the help of my prof I decided to focus on the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore/War of 1812.
Now, tomorrow, we have to turn in our annotated bibliography for the paper. If anyone has ever written one, you kinda know why they suck to put together. Instead of having months to research and find your documentation, we have a few weeks to gather together what we will be using (5 primaries, 5 secondaries) for our research. Not only listing them but putting down a description of the item and the reason for using it. What it will support, etc.
I am sure they have a purpose: figure out your research, have it all focused and such. And I am sure this won’t be the last one I will ever write (especially since I am thinking of taking the next section from the same Prof) over the next few years for school. I am guessing they are necessary for thesis papers and such. My hubs and I have discussed the possibility of me going for my Masters after I get my Bachelors… I am sure they will be due then. But it is hard, having to find ten resources on what is considered a very minor skirmish in a war most people don’t even know happened. Strange as it may seems.
One would wonder why I would go for this subject then. Why not go for an easier topic like: Salem Witch Trials, Ben Franklin, Jamestown, etc. Other then the fact that they are super obvious to me as topics (I actually heard two people discussing the Witch trials with the prof), I grew up knowing about Fort McHenry and what was important about the day of the Bombardment beyond that of the writing of the National Anthem. My grandmothers family is from around there… about a short 10 minute drive, so when we would go to Baltimore for vacation and visit family it was always a destination we would visit as well. Why not? It is a beautiful place, full of history.
Why was it important? It kept the British from taking Baltimore, which at the time was considered more important then Washington being burnt down. Washington at the time was just starting to become the hub of the American government. The White House was there, famously burned down by the Brits, and the Capital but it was not the city it was today. Many people were afraid that if Baltimore (one of the countries richest and leading ports) was taken, the Brits could make their way to Philadelphia. So, our 1000 men at Fort McHenry, holding off the Brits for 25 hours and making them turn around was a big moment in our national history. That was in 1814, before the famous Battle of New Orleans with Andrew Jackson and two years after a war began with our invasion of Canada.
This year is also the bicentennial of the start of the war, I bet you had no idea. We didn’t really celebrate it but we should because it really affirmed us as a nation in the eyes of the rest of the world because we were able to hold our ground.
Now, I would love to lecture more but alas my son just woke up and I need to go get him.