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2017 US History Honors Papers

Following are excerpts of and links to the three history papers that received high honors this spring (footnotes excluded; full papers are password-protected).


Calli Bianchi, "Look Like Ladies, Play Like Men"

Baseball is known as America’s national pastime. Everyone has heard of the Curse of the Bambino, or Bobby Thompson’s “shot heard round the world,” or Ted Williams’ 406 batting average, but, to this day, an important part of baseball history remains forgotten. During World War II, when many men were at war and couldn’t play baseball, Philip Wrigley created a women’s league. It was founded in 1943 as the All-American Girl’s Softball League, but in 1946 it was changed to a baseball-softball hybrid in order to attract more fans. The name eventually became the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League. The league started out with just four teams in the Midwest and peaked at ten teams in its 1948 season. Female ballplayers from all over the country tried out to play in the league. At its pinnacle, the league had nearly one hundred thousand fans. Eventually, when the men returned from war, its popularity declined and the last season was played in 1954.

One might think that this league advanced gender equality in America. In reality, the All American Girls Professional Baseball League undermined gender equality because the league’s policies objectified women and reinforced strict gender role stereotypes.


‚ÄčNathaniel Birne, "The 1941 Disney Studio Strike: How Nine Weeks Transformed Walt Disney's Ideology"

On the morning of May 29th, 1941, Walt Disney drove to his California studio just as he would on any other day. He must have known what to expect—the previous night, members of a labor union known as the Screen Cartoonists Guild had decided to strike “by an almost unanimous vote,” and word had already spread to the major newspapers. Nonetheless, the scene that materialized as Disney approached his studio would forever remain etched in his memory. Three hundred of Disney’s employees swamped the building’s entrance, chanting slogans into speakers and waving hand-drawn posters. 

Despite these protesters’ clear-cut complaints, Disney rejected the notion that he was in any way responsible for the strike. He published an ad in several Hollywood newspapers to inform his workers that, “you have been misled and misinformed about the real issues underlying the strike at the studio. I am positively convinced that Communistic agitation, leadership, and activities have brought about this strike.” ...Disney’s insistence that the strike was devised by communists provokes an intriguing question: Why did the 1941 strike have such a powerful and lasting effect on Disney’s ideology?


Clara Guzman, "GI Babies and Their Unique Post-War Role in US-South Korean Relations"

Longingly, Jang has a “lifelong wish” that is in her own words, “to meet my father.” Recently, Jang Yeon Hee took a DNA test in the hope of finding her American father who left her pregnant mother in 1954 and “never bothered to visit again to see me.” Jang is one of estimated tens of thousands of so-called GI babies born to American soldiers and Korean prostitutes as a consequence of the Korean War. GI babies faced lives “filled with a sense of alienation, racist attacks [from Koreans in Korea] and longing for their birth parents.” Left in Korea, Jang and other GI babies were doomed to “lonely and impoverished li[ves]” due to their “lowliest roots.” Her poignant story typifies the fate of GI babies who did not have the good fortune to be adopted by Americans. The vast majority like her (95%) wished that they had had the chance to move to America during the era of 1953 - 1960 when thousands of mixed-raced children were “exported” to America.

GI babies comprised the very first wave of postwar adoptions because “Amerasians had the most urgent needs” and their adoption by Americans served multiple, mutually beneficial purposes both for Korea and the United States. 

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2017 US History Honors Research Papers
2017 US History Honors Research Papers, history, history papers, US History
2017 US History Honors Research Papers