Approaches to Historical Research
- Determine your scope, both in time and place. The 1990s? The 1890s? Pennsylvania? The United States?
- Find your keywords. Look for slang from the time period you are researching--a slang dictionary may help you find the appropriate keywords for your era. The Oxford English Dictionary may prove especially helpful when looking for etymology.
- Remember: keyword searching alone is not the same as doing research! Were American hemp farmers in the 1700s cultivating a plant for its psychoactive properties, or for its utility as a fiber?
- Suggested keywords by date:
- Hemp (1500s - )
- Cannabis / canabis (1700s - )
- Marjiuana (1970s - ). Try spelling variations for earlier uses: mariguan, mariguana (1800s - 1930s), marihuana (1900s - 1960s), mariahuana (1930s).
- Google can't help you find everything. Try searching in specific databases for your subject area, especially when looking for primary source documents.
War On Drugs
CQ Researcher: War on Drugs
"Should nonviolent drug users be subject to arrest?"
Streaming documentaries available through Swarthmore College Libraries:
The War on Drugs: Winners and Losers (1999)
"Is the war on drugs in the U.S. causing greater societal harm than the problem of drug abuse itself?"
War on Drugs and Human Rights (1996)
"Richard Nixon declared a War on Drugs in 1971 and dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies."
"Canabis is called in Englishe Hemp..." Page 16 of William Turner's "The Names of Herbes."
This page depicts the earliest recorded mention of cannabis as noted by the Oxford English Dictionary.
If you're seeking even earlier mentions, ditch "cannabis" for "hemp": John Taylor wrote an ode to hemp in 1623 in "The Praise of Hemp-Seed," long before THC was discovered: