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2016 History Research Papers

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

"Imperialistic Entertainment: Circus and Wild West Shows During the Spanish-American War" by Sami Alves '18

December 12th, 1898 was a day of jubilation for America. The Spanish American war was over; the Treaty of Paris officially awarded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States and gave Cuba its independence. There were celebrations across the country, but perhaps the most enthusiastic could be found under the flaps of a circus tent. On that momentous day, the Forepaugh and Sells Brothers Circus paused their show for the ringleader to parade onstage and read the telegram declaring the United States’ victory. According to their route book, the cast saw, “the entire audience rising to their feet and cheering the stars and stripes.” With an American flag waving above the crowd, the band striking up the “Star Spangled Banner,” and the patrons applauding thunderously, the tent incubated a monstrous wave of patriotic vigor and military support. Although media and government both fought to sway public opinion, some of the most effective propaganda of the age was fostered in America’s circus tents and Wild West arenas.

"The Impact of Racial and Sectional Conflicts on New York TImes v. Sullivan (1964)" by Jill Radley '18

Anthony Lewis, former writer for the New York Times, described racial discrimination in the 1960s as “different in the South, and far more virulent, because it had the force of law.” Martin Luther King Jr. echoed this message in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” writing that “when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading ‘white’ and ‘colored’… then you will find it difficult to wait (for equality).” New York Times v. Sullivan arose at a time when manipulating the law had become a major part of the battle of the Civil Rights Movement, which made the case extremely complex...When Jim Crow laws became ineffective for whites attempting to take down the Movement, they turned to other forms of legislation, especially libel. In New York Times v. Sullivan, plaintiff L.B Sullivan, head of the police force in Montgomery, sued the Times for publishing a defamatory ad about his team. The Committee to Defend Martin Luther King Jr. created the advertisement, “Heed Their Rising Voices,” which contained inaccuracies regarding the actions of police against several student demonstrations across Southern cities, including Montgomery. When an all-white jury in Alabama rewarded the revered Sullivan with $500,000, it compelled the Supreme Court to make a major decision. What was their role in expanding freedom of the press, and thus aiding the Civil Rights Movement? 

 

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2016 History Research Papers
2016 History Research Papers
2016 History Research Papers