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HIST 160 Research Paper

Choosing a Hudson Valley Topic

There are obviously a large variety of options when choosing a Hudson Valley topic. The lists below are meant to help you think about the range of possibilities. They should be used as a general guide to areas of research you might delve into further, not as a complete list of fully fleshed-out topics you should or must use. These lists were generated by James Merrell, Robert Brigham, Miriam Cohen, Rebecca Edwards, Nikki Taylor, Kappa Waugh, and Gretchen Lieb.

Hudson Valley Events and Issues

  • Beyond Dr. Hamilton: Travelers Visit the Valley
  • The Wappingers Indians Fight for their Lands, 1750s-1760s
  • Landlords and Tenants in Colonial New York
  • Loyalists and Rebels
  • The Valley as Battleground During the War for Independence
  • Ratifying the Constitution: The New York State Ratifying Convention Meets in Poughkeepsie
  • Steamboats on the Hudson: Technology and Transportation
  • Washington Irving’s Hudson Valley: Myth and Memory
  • The “Hudson River School” of Painting and the Meaning of America
  • The Anti-Rent Riots (mid-19th century)
  • Anti-Irish Nativism in 19th -Century Poughkeepsie (Know-Nothing Party, “WideAwakes” Youth Group)
  • Samuel F. B. Morse
  • Women's City and Country Club (political club that promoted civic engagement for women post suffrage - papers located at the Adriance Library)
  • Images of the Hudson Valley
  • Poughkeepsie Cemeteries
  • The Bardavon Theater
  • Mohonk Mountain House and Tourism
  • FDR’s Early Political Campaigns
  • Sports (rowing, sailing regattas; more?)
  • Building the Aqueduct from Ashokan to New York City
  • The Founding of IBM
  • Bobby Kennedy’s 1964 Senate Campaign
  • Women’s Lives in the Valley, c 17--, 18--, 19--.

Connecting the Hudson Valley to National Events

Another approach to framing a topic about Hudson Valley history is to think about how the local community experienced a particular event or time period.  Examples include:

  • The Suffrage Movement
  • Abolitionism
  • John Brown’s Raid
  • The Civil War
  • Women's suffrage
  • The Great Depression
  • The World Wars
  • McCarthyism
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Vietnam War
  • Presidential Elections

Other Ways to Explore the Possibilities

Look at the websites for the major repositories of primary source material in the region.

Browse through some of the major print sources on local history, such as:

Browse the repositories of digital materials that include local history, such as: