This past week I finished the first draft of my research paper, Slavery in Jesuit Country: How French Jesuit Missionaries Interacted & Responded to Early Native American & African Slavery in the New World. After finally sitting down to write my paper, I now know how I was successful and where I actually struggled.
First, I believe that I need to spend more time revising my preliminary draft to include stronger evidence that supports my critique of Rushforth’s statements on Jesuit missions in Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous & Atlantic Slaveries in New France (2012). My ultimate goal is to be able to provide criticism throughout my discussion of Indian slavery, not just when I specifically focus on Rushforth’s work. Additionally, I feel that my draft needs at least four more pages of content to prove my argument and describe New France’s history.
After finishing my draft, I felt confident and satisfied with the breadth of information I was able to relate–especially since I still have time before the final version of the paper is due for our different presentations. I also felt a sense of fulfillment when writing, because I was able to create stronger and more interesting headings for the outline of my paper:
- SLAVERY IN JESUIT COUNTRY (INTRO)
- INDIAN SLAVERY ON THE FRENCH FRONTIER
- JESUIT INTERACTION WITH INDIANS ON THE FRENCH FRONTIER
- JESUIT INVESTMENT IN THE LOUISIANA PROVINCE
- JESUITS AND SLAVERY: FROM SOULS TO SLAVES
- CONCLUSION (CRITIQUE OF RUSHFORTH)
The most frustrating aspect of my paper was the fact that the information I address span vastly different times in New France’s history. By discussing early Jesuit explorations, while establishing missions, and later Jesuit plantations (Kaskaskia), I feel that my argument towards Jesuits’ relationship–with slavery–may be vulnerable. Additionally, while criticizing Rushforth, I became frustrated with Rushforth’s arguments that blamed Jesuit missions for using Indian slaves as chattel slaves. I felt that Rushforth did not authentically explain pre-European Indian slave-captivity practices; even though he attempted to advocate against Jesuit use of slaves on missions (before the 1700s).
Even though I am confident with the content of my first draft, I know that my research needs work. I envision presenting a graduate-level research thesis, that includes research supported by reproduced images of primary documents and scholarly criticism. I also fully recognize that I may not have met the full length of the goal for the preliminary draft. I plan to extend my paper to the maximum of 25 pages, as I include the final concluding section of my paper. I would also like to look into additional criticism against Rushforth, as I did not focus on this until the drafting of my outline.
I hope that I can be confident in the revised versions of this research paper.