Go through and process following feedback of marker, please:
‘Primary source research
This seemed to be the main concern of the original markers – that it wasn’t a piece of original research based on direct engagement with primary sources, but an account of the topic based on secondary literature with a couple of primary sources thrown in. I can see you’ve added some extra primary sources in the new draft, but not to an extent that seems sufficient, i.e. this still seems like a work based on secondary literature rather than a piece of substantial primary source research. That’s partly because you’ve only added a few primary sources. And partly because those you have added seem to be used as background in the introduction rather than as part of your core arguments about British policy.
So I would say the main thing you need to do is integrate a far greater range of primary sources more meaningfully into your research. Again, I’m not an expert on this period, but I would imagine there may be collections of British foreign policy documents published somewhere, as well as lots more material at Kew. But in addition to that there are various online collections that may be useful:
https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments – US state department documents from the Civil War onwards
https://www-archivesdirect-amdigital-co-uk.libproxy.kcl.ac.uk/CP_LatinAmerica – collection of Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents related to Latin America from Kew
https://libguides.kcl.ac.uk/az.php – various online databases available through the KCL library, including lots of 19th century newspaper databases which could add a lot of depth to your arguments. For example, when British newspapers are discussing Mexico and British policy towards it, are they discussing the issues of US response, slavery, etc.?
Literature review and engagement with historiography
This was another point raised by the markers. For a Masters dissertation you need to include a comprehensive literature review (usually as part of the introduction) which lays out explicitly how other historians have approached these topics, what are the major themes/arguments/debates in the field, what ideas or broader concepts this scholarship draws on, etc. You then need to show how your own research and arguments are contributing to those scholarly conversations. At the moment you have a very long introduction which is mainly a narrative background of events. That obviously draws on lots of secondary literature and references some historians, but doesn’t seem to provide that kind of explicit review of the existing scholarship. I’d recommend that you re-write your introduction, removing some of that narrative background or moving it to a later chapter, and including a section (potentially with its own sub-heading) dedicated to the literature review and explaining where your argument fits in relation to it.
Structure. At the moment you have a very long introduction, a quite long section 1 on the US, and a very short section 2 on slavery. I’d recommend refashioning the introduction to focus on your argument and the literature review; potentially moving some of that material in the introduction to a later chapter; and restructuring your chapters to break up your argument in a clearer and more logical way. You should then explain in your introduction the structure which the dissertation is going to follow, and consider adding a contents page at the start to help guide the reader.
Footnotes. This was again raised by one of the markers but doesn’t seem to have changed much. I’d strongly recommend limiting your footnotes to just references and cutting out all quotes and commentary. As a general rule, if something is important enough to quote or write you should include it in the body of the text, and if it’s not important enough to go in the body of the text it shouldn’t go in the footnote either. Your footnotes count towards the word limit, so there’s no point in wasting words on them.
Bibliography. Your list of secondary sources needs reordering and reformatting.’
– Go through and process, if not done already, initial remarks on dissertation (attached as pdf file)
– Reference in footnotes and bibliography according to ‘Style guide’ (attached as pdf file)
– Let me know if you need some additional primary sources. I’ve got some photographed ready to share with you.
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