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Historical Research Paper Example: The Orphan Train Movement

8 pages
1946 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
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Part one: A reflection on why I choose the topic, and factors that facilitated the choice

Some factors influenced the selection of the Orphan Train movement topic. The humanitarian movement made a significant contribution to the needy children in the society. As the project started back in the mid-19th century, it was focused on providing rescue to helpless children living in the streets. When I was selecting this topic, I was reading a novel that documented a story of a young boy who was living in the streets and the struggle that he had to go through to stay alive. I found the Orphan Train Movement to be an inspirational act of humanity and was drawn to finding out more about the movement and its projects. In line with personal interests, I was drawn by the history of the movement having been formed on low ground and advanced to become a successful humanitarian project. To add to this, when I carried a brief research on the movement, I realized the topic had enormous research data. It was convenient for me because I would easily access the research materials to complete my project. During the time that the movement was active, authors and members documented the nature, process, purposes, and achievements of the movement. It was an item on media including television and newspapers. I also realized that most resources available were written by authors from different cultures, backgrounds and held varying perspectives. The topic was also a significant area of study in my coursework. The founders of the project led by Charles Rollin Brace are important figures of change in the course of history. In this project, I was focused on finding out the formation, working nature and sustenance of the Orphan Train movement as a rescue program for saving homeless orphans in New York.

Part two: A Reflection on the Research Proposal Addressing the Hypothesis

The topic chosen was The Orphan Train movement. Upon selection I moved on to come up with a hypothesis and form a research proposal. When preparing to do my project on the Orphan Train Movement, I gathered from various sources that it was in the mid-1800s that the United States shifted from agrarian era to urban development and industrialization. The transition into industrial revolution had causes disorientation of family and social structure. The Orphan Train movement was formed as a response to the effects of the change. The resettlement program was in operation from 1853 to 1929, and it salvaged orphans to a large extent. I was working with the hypothesis that the program had a single objective of defeating the great evils in New York labeled as poverty, overpopulation, and migration. In the course of my project, I embraced the hypothesis as research indicated that the measure taken by The Orphan Train movement helped move street kids and link them with improvised families. The children once moved created an increase in the level of competitiveness in the job market but also maintained inadequacy in resources and maintained levels of poverty. The acquired data informed and justified my position to progress working with the original hypothesis.

Part three: A Detailed Outline of the Research Paper

Executive Summary

The executive summary will be a summary of the details entailed in the research work. It will highlight, in brief, the nature of The Orphan Train movement from the time of its inception, through the process of popularity, growth, and decline. It will provide some details and insight on how and the program was initiated, conducted and managed. The summary will highlight through restating, the hypothesis for the project and a short brief of the research apprehension.


The introduction will be a brief information to orient the reader to The Orphan Train Movement. The introduction encompasses the nature and the research and is formulated in an interesting style to keep the reader in suspense and drive them to reading the paper.

History of the formation of The Orphan Train Movement.

Formation of the Movement

This subtitle will cover in detail the formation process of the Orphan Train Movement. It will detail the collaborative initiative by the Childrens Aid Society and the New York Founding Hospital spearheaded by the founder of Childrens Aid Society in 1823.

Charles Brace and the Childrens Aid Society

Charles Brace was among the front-line pioneers for the Orphan Train Movement. He was working with the Childrens Aid Society at the time. He founded the initiative and provided a philosophical guideline for its operations. The subtopic will provide a detailed history of brace a personal level and as a significant figure in the society. The paper will examine his contribution to the society besides the Orphan Train initiative. Since he started working to rescue young boys even in very limiting situations, the role he played in the initiative is critical.

The New York Foundling Hospital

The New York Foundling Hospital was a major partner in the action with sister Irene as the significant figure. Her story and contribution are similar to that of Charles Brace although both had clear differences in the procedure for placing children in homes. The operating system and procedure for the hospital will be explored. The Hospital paid key interest to place children in Catholic families. The hospital also requested adopting before time. The contribution that the hospital made will be examined.

A comparison between the New York Foundling Hospital and the Childrens Aid Society.

This subtopic will provide an examination of the two programs in term of relations, operations, and adoption procedures. The researcher will also assess the specific philosophical theories that the two used for operation and examine the significance and contributions that each program had. Key differences between the two organization will be examined as well used to provide a clear layout of the programs.

Literature Review

Societal perception of the Orphan Train Movement

The formation the movement was pure with good intention. In a famous quote, the goal is expressed as an initiative to curb and defeat the great evils of poverty, and migration. Brace was focused on making the world a better place for the kids in the streets. However, the program was apprehended in different perceptions by the New York society as well as the upper west where these children were adopted. To a large extent, this among other factors affected the nature, progress, and decline of the initiative. The subtopic will be significant for the research.

The rise and decline of The Orphan Train initiative

The subtopics will explain the course of progress for the company. It is important to the research project since it will provide more information on how the movement was run, the benefits and the limitations it incurred. A minor subtopic will highlight the factors that led to the decline of the program including lack of resources, e negative reputation, the conduct of the train riders and the increase rules by the government that curtailed qualifications for transporting and adopting children.


The research will endorse the use of literature sources from primary sources and particularly the events and works of the movements founders. The research will include data from primary sources particularly firsthand events from the founders of the Movement. The sources will be inclusive of survey studies between the years of 1853 to 1929.The data source will describe the movement and statistics of children rescued in between that historical period. The data source also will give records on the discoverers of the Movement. Apart from that, secondary sources will also be utilized that will analyze data from primary sources it could be from history encyclopedias materials. The books will interpret the theories synthesized to explain the Orphan Train Movement.

The study will primarily focus on giving insights on The Orphan Train Movement. Initially, commence with describing the background of the research and its operations as on the historical period of 1854 to 1929.The other element of study will be on the various founders associated with the establishment of the Movement. Also, the Orphan Train Movement study will have an exploration of its scope giving details of the numbers of children rescued. Ultimately the study will even provide details on the challenges the orphans train passengers and families encounter when in the movement. For instance, some families end up in slave farm labors.

Significance of the Research

The research idea will be of importance because it will attempt to get the impoverished children off the streets. The program will serve as a remedy to have these children put in homes other than having them face arresting from the police and also being taken advantage of when on the streets. The additional importance of this study is that it will gain attention from the Government who will intervene for the sake of these orphan children and families. The research will also have the importance of enlightening the pasts that the orphans faced, and from the train movement will now be riding from their history.

Part Four: Personal Response and Assessment

Identify the Parts of the Process That Were Challenging

The research process was involving and in general successful. It gave me a chance to study read more literature on the Orphan Train. However, in the process of completion, I encountered various challenges at a personal and academic level. To begin with, it was difficult to locate resourceful and vengeful sources. I was having a hard time locating sources because some had informative and crucial information but didnt qualify to be used in an academic paper as they didnt cite any credible sources. Most materials only provided similar content, and it was technical getting through to a variety of materials. As I was doing a research preparation to determine if I should settle on this topic, I came across a variety a source, and I planned to use them to guide and inform my research. Unfortunately, I lost them along the way before I could even record much information. I learnt the importance of being prepared and recording sources in a safe manner progressively as I acquire them. However, this was a setback given that I had already started my work and couldnt start over. The only option I had was to seek new sources, and to my dismay, it was challenging to locate. I was also working with a limiting time frame and this subjected me to a lot of pressure and my working environment wasnt very conducive which was strenuous to concentrate without distraction and making mistakes.

Personal Thoughts on Lessons Learnt About the Research Process

The research process is quite involving at a personal and professional level. As a researcher, it is important to engage in a research topic that lies in line with personal interests or hobbies. Working on research with a work approach can be quite draining. In my case, the process was tiresome and drained until I felt demotivated at some point. I had to overcome feelings of burn out and hence invested a lot of time in searching for sources before resuming my research. However, I found this to be a blessing in disguise as I was dedicated give my best in the paper. Losing my profound sources challenged me to read and research more on my topic. Later as I was coming to the research report, I found it enjoyable and accomplishing because I had become very conversant with my research topic. I learned some key things about a research process including the importance of time management and allocating sufficient time to the project. Sufficient preparation for the research is important. A researcher should have a wide knowledge base that should help them analyze the research topic, sources, and other...

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