History Theses and Dissertations

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 358
  • Item
    Inter-Ethnic Relations on New England's Frontier: A Survey of the Formative Period
    (1969) Cole, Robert A.; Van Ness, James S.; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    In many respects, the form and progression of the New England frontier reflects a collision, of sorts, between two disparate peoples and their two divergent cultures. As the European confronted the native American in the wilderness setting, it soon became apparent that the demise of the Indian culture was inevitable, the only salient question being as to the nature of its decline. A close examination of early Seventeenth Century relations shows the English as ambitious and militant expansionists who not only rejected the idea of cultural coexistence, but, in regarding the Indian solely from a European frame of reference, failed to make any substantial progress toward a theory of toleration. The English were highly organized, strongly motivated, and eminently successful in their pursuit of the long range goals of settlement; and it is the very cohesiveness of the Puritan frontier which best illuminates the fateful dilemma of the indigenous population. While fragmented by tribal particularism and internecine warfare, the native New Englanders were beset on all sides by enemies, European and Indian. Though willing, at first, to contest a permanent European colonial effort, their cultural resiliency was undermined by disease, and a multiplicity of negative factors which developed as their relationships with the English settlements moved toward interdependency. As the confrontation moved into the climactic period following the Pequot War, the weight of the English presence had already brought about irreversible trends in the Indian way of life. With his lands diminishing under the pressure of two converging lines of frontier settlement, he was finally left, with two impractical options, acculturation or resistance. Both charted a course to futility.
  • Item
    The Clash between Race and Politics: Marion Barry, the District of Columbia Financial Control Board, and the Fight for Home Rule
    (2023) Horn, Dennis Marshall; Freund, David M.P.; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    ABSTRACTTHE CLASH BETWEEN RACE AND POLITICS: MARION BARRY, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FINANCIAL CONTROL BOARD, AND THE FIGHT FOR HOME RULE Dennis Marshall Horn, Master of Arts 2023 Thesis Directed By: Associate Professor, David M. P. Freund, Department of History In 1995, the District of Columbia (DC) was insolvent. Marion Barry, who had just been elected mayor of Washington, DC for the fourth time was advised that D.C. faced a $722 million deficit which DC was unable to finance. In addition, DC residents were not getting adequate public services like police, schools, trash pick-up and street repair. In response, Congress suspended “Home Rule”, the law which granted DC citizens the right to be governed by a mayor and a thirteen-member citizen-elected council. Instead, Congress empaneled the District of Columbia (DC) Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority (Control Board), a five-member board appointed by the President to take control of the District’s governance. The Control Board stayed in place and Home Rule was suspended from 1995-2001. The Control Board rather than the elected officials had the authority to run the District’s government while leaving in place the mayor and the DC Council to implement the Control Board’s directives. The division between the authority to set policy and the executive function to implement that policy created a conflict of governing objectives between Marion Barry and the Control Board. In accordance with his Civil Rights background, Barry believed that the main purpose of DC government should be economic empowerment for DC’s Black citizens. The Control Board’s main objectives were to gain control of DC finances, cut unnecessary municipal costs and improve city services with the ultimate goal of attracting middle class residents to stabilize DC’s tax base. The resulting housing boom and population growth led to gentrification which priced the less affluent residents, including many Black residents, out of DC. These dueling policy objectives benefitted some to the detriment of others, and vestiges of these competing policies survive today. This thesis, which is largely based upon interviews with key officials in Congress, the Control Board, the Clinton Administration and the DC government, contributes to the scholarly literature by viewing Barry, the Control Board and the fight for Home Rule through the lens of social and racial politics. The thesis concludes that while the Control Board saved Home Rule by putting the DC government back on a sustainable course, it is at best a temporary solution to a broken government. An unelected Control Board does not have either the capacity or the public support to resolve problems that cannot be separated from group identity politics. On the other hand, when Congress determines to intervene in DC governance, DC’s citizens have little defense without voting representatives in Congress.
  • Item
    “But Hold Me Fast and Fear Me Not” Comparing Gender Roles in the Ballad Tam Lin and Medieval and Renaissance Scotland.
    (2023) Conant, Charlotte; Bianchini, \Janna; History/Library & Information Systems; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Tam Lin, a medieval Scottish Ballad tells the story of an unusually forceful young Lady Janet. Janet does many of the feats of strength in her story, defies her father, refuses to behave as a ‘good Christian woman’ might and suffers no consequences for her actions. She ends her story successfully married to a noble Christian man, having saved him from the evil pagan Fairy Queen. This ballad has been popular for centuries, and has been cited as a ballad unique to Scotland that represents Scottish culture. The ballad contains ideas that one might think contradictory to the ideas of a medieval Christian society, yet the ballad was so popular it had a ballet (now lost) and has survived for at least four hundred years. This dissertation examines the differences and similarities between the lack of consequences Janet suffers and what real women in Scotland from the Medieval Ages to the Early Modern period would have experienced. It also will delve into the various cultural groups that contributed to the ‘Scottish Nature’ of the ballad. Stories are told by humans all across the world, a ballad, likely sung in a group, in order to continue being told, must not go against the inherent social rules of the people performing it, or else act as a cautionary tale. However, since Janet does not end her story suffering, Tam Lin is not meant to be a cautionary tale. Why then, was this ballad, that might appear to be so contradictory to the society that was telling it, have managed to survive (and be so popular) to the current day and age.
  • Item
    (2023) Taylor, Erin; Bianchini, Janna; History/Library & Information Systems; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In this thesis, I argue that medieval people in Latin Europe had complex, overlapping identities and experiences of gender and sexuality that developed in their specific temporal and geographical contexts. The internal understandings of identities and the external expressions and interpretations of such identities are sites of historical possibility—and sources of potential inter-and intra-personal conflicts Medieval writings like Le Roman de Silence demonstrate how these identities could be constructed and expressed for literary and rhetorical purposes. Extant court cases, including those of John/Eleanor Rykener, Vitoria of Lisbon, and Katherina Hetzeldorfer, demonstrate the complexity of lived experiences of identity, and how deviation from accepted community and cultural norms could prove dangerous. It is impossible to assert such identities of gender and sexuality for historical figures of the medieval era with complete certainty, but the exploration of these identities is necessary for a fuller understanding and representation of the period and the people who lived throughout it.
  • Item
    Slaveholding and Indentured Servitude in Seventeenth Century Maryland, 1674-1699
    (1968) Payne, Philip Marshall; Land, Aubrey C.
    This thesis is concerned with the characteristics of slaveholding and indentured servitude in seventeenth century Maryland, so far as these can be delineated from quantitative data. on the basis of a quantitative analysis of personal estates in the Inventories and Accounts of the Probate Court, several conclusions are apparent . These can best be stated in summary form in six propositions . First, estates with bond labor (slaves and/or servants) decreased from 36 per cent of the total number of estates during the period 1674 to 1679 to 24 per cent in 1695 to 1699. Second, the percentage of estates with slaves (slaves only or slaves and servants) increased from 24 per cent of those estates with bond labor in the period 1674 to 1679 to 72 per cent in 1695 to 1699. Third, the average number of slaves per estate (of those estates holding slaves) increased from 2.89 in the period 1674 to 1679 to 5.50 in 1695 to 1699. The average number of servants per estate (of those holding servants) decreased from 2.88 in the period 1674 to 1679 to 2.15 in 1695 to 1699. Fourth, those who invested 0 to 20 per cent of their total income in bond labor decreased, while those who invested 21 to 40 per cent of their total income in bond labor remained fairly constant. Those who invested 41 to 70 per cent of their total income in slaves and/or servants increased during the twenty-six year period. Fifth, there appeared to be a concentration of slaves in the hands of the wealthy. over the twenty-six year period, 17.6 per cent of the estates with bond labor held 52.2 per cent of the total number of slaves. Sixth, the average value of male slaves during the period was between L21 and L25; the average value of a female slave was Ll6 to L20 for the first several decades and L21 to L25 for the last decade. The average value for servants ranged from Ll to LlO, with the value increasing as the time of service increased.
  • Item
    "The Quiet Battles of the Home Front War": Civil War Bread Riots and the Development of a Confederate Welfare System
    (1986) Barber, Edna Susan; Grimsted, David A.; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    During the American Civil War, more than a dozen food riots erupted in a number of Southern cities. Planned and executed largely by women, these riots were precipitated by extreme food shortages and high market prices, both the result of impressment activity and widespread speculation in foodstuffs. Although several scholars have examined the largest riot which occurred in Richmond, Virginia, in 1863, none have studied them collectively to determine the impact all of these riots exerted on the Confederate war effort or on the roles of Southern women in wartime. Nor has any attempt been made to place these riots in the context of American and European patterns of rioting. In response to riots or as attempts to prevent riots from occurring, a number of state and local governments moved to establish welfare programs to aid the women left destitute by the war. In cities, this took the form of free markets which distributed commodities donated by local farmers. In areas where the population was more dispersed, county or state relief agencies performed a similar function. Women who received supplies had to meet specific requirements to qualify for aid, and, at least in Richmond, the female rioters were excluded from the welfare program because their behavior violated traditional behavioral norms. As the war neared its conclusion, however, this type of riotous activity by Southern women ceased, and the women returned to their more traditional roles in nineteenth-century Southern society. When examined as a group, these riots tend to conform to traditional European food riot patterns such as those described by E.P. Thompson and Louise Tilly, thus giving the women's activities a broader and deeper historical context than they otherwise would have had.
  • Item
    Deferred Mission, The Josephites and the Struggle for Black Catholic Priests, 1871 - 1960
    (1985) Ochs, Stephen J.; Olson, Keith W.; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    During the last quarter of the nineteenth, and well into the twentieth century, St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart (Josephites) carried the main burden of the Roman Catholic Church's meagre efforts among black Americans. The Josephites built churches and schools throughout the South and, more dramatically, pioneered in the ordination of black Catholic priests in the United States. The exclusion of all but a handful of black men from the Catholic priesthood had both symbolized and helped to perpetuate the second class status of blacks within the Catholic Church. Under their first American Superior General, the dynamic John R. Slattery (1893-1904), the Josephites defied prevailing racist ideology. They accepted blacks into their minor and major seminaries and raised three of them to the priesthood between 1891 and 1907. Unfortunately, however, the Josephites could not sustain their pioneering endeavors on behalf of a black clergy in the midst of deteriorating race relations in the United States after the turn of the century. Southern bishops refused to accept black Josephites into their dioceses. Slattery's successors as Superior General, especially Louis B. Pastorelli (1918-1942 ), lacked his faith in black leadership, shared some of the racist assumptions of American society, and found themselves dependent upon the support of southern bishops. They accomodated their ecclesiatical superiors and effectively closed the Josephite college and seminary to all but an occasional mulatto, thereby forfeiting credibility among an important segment of black Catholics. Leadership in the struggle for black priests passed to the missionaries of the Society of the Divine Word. Not until the election of Edward V. Casserly as Superior General (1942-1948), did the Josephites return to their original policy of recruiting black men for St. Joseph's Society. The struggle of the Josephites over the issue of black priests illustrated the depth of the institutional racism that pervaded the Catholic Church, the tendency of the Church to accomodate itself to prevailing regional and national cultures, the limits of Vatican influence over the American Church on sensitive social issues like race, and the determination of black Catholics to secure their own priestly spokesmen within the clerically dominated Catholic Church.
  • Item
    (1998) Dunlap Radigan, Patricia Annette; Lyons, Clare; History; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD); University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Since the early 1980s, women's historians have worked to uncover the causes behind the expansion of educational opportunities for women in the early American Republic. Their work delineated how constructs about motherhood, wifehood, religion, and social status influenced the expansion of female education in the late eighteenthcentury. This research adds another powerful construct to the list: the civilization construct. Of all the constructs present in early American thought, beliefs about the meaning of civilization were among the most powerful. Inherited from European perspectives about the nature of civilized human societies, and modified by the American experience, the desire to join the ranks of "civilized" nations permanently changed educational practices. In 1996, a search for evidence of republic motherhood ideology in the records of the Young Ladies' Academy of Philadelphia laid the groundwork for this thesis. I expected repeated references to motherhood. I was struck by the virtual lack of motherhood rhetoric. Instead, the trustees and students repeatedly cited the needs of their "civilization." Further research showed that civilization was cited by others, too. Ina deliberate search for more references to civilization, writings by Benjamin Rush, Thomas Jefferson, Noah Webster, Samuel Smith, Robert Coram and others were examined. Beliefs about civilization continually appeared in rhetoric surrounding education reform: in advertisements and prospectuses, poems, songs, essays, and speeches. I searched newspapers, magazines, private correspondence, records of public forums, and reprints of commencement speeches. It was everywhere. The legacy of the civilization construct and its affect on female education is traced here.
  • Item
    "And They Were Bedmates!": Travel and the Development of Privacy in Colonial America.
    (2023) Labor, Joanna; Brewer, Holly; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation is a study of how travelers, particularly white, elite travelers, thought about their lodgings over the course of the long eighteenth century, and how their lodging options changed as a result. Their writings about how they ate and where they slept reveal shifting cultural attitudes from both travelers and their hosts. Genteel travelers began to expect greater personal privacy, and private householders who formerly provided accommodations began to refuse to do so. The material culture of gentility spread quickly through the Atlantic world; elite homes became more compartmentalized places that allowed for people to develop new senses of personal privacy. While many Americans could partake in the trappings of gentility, they could not participate equally. Such differences in a standard of living created tensions between travelers and their hosts. Taverns, inns, and private homes were the main sources of lodging; however, most hosts were unable and increasingly unwilling to provide the individualized spaces that genteel travelers increasingly expected for their bodily privacy. Chapter one describes travelers and boarding in urban areas, and the role that boardinghouses played in affording travelers a measure of privacy. Chapter two discusses rural America during the colonial period, looking at why so many travelers ended up lodging in private homes despite their discomfort. Chapter three illustrates the standards of genteel travelers, and why they were often in opposition with the families who lived in the homes and taverns that they stayed in. Finally, chapter four discusses the reasons why householders and tavernkeepers began to deny travelers a berth overnight. If the first three chapters are about the power of elite travelers, the fourth chapter is about the power of householders to refuse entry in their homes, and the tools they used to reclaim their space from intrusive travelers. The conclusion discusses the emergence of the modern hotel, purpose-built buildings that both allowed travelers’ personal privacy as well as taking them out of domestic spaces. The rise of a tourist economy, coupled with changing ideas about who was allowed in domestic spaces, ensured both that travelers no longer sought respite in private homes, and that householders would not willingly allow strangers into their homes. However, the practice did not die out entirely, persisting in the backcountry frontier and in less settled areas where there was less travel infrastructure, into the nineteenth century.
  • Item
    Claiming Place, Placing Claim: African American Life in Working-Class Nashville, Tennessee, 1861-1900
    (2023) Maxson, Stanley D; Rowland, Leslie S; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation tracks the development of Black Bottom, a working-class neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. It examines the lives of African Americans, mostly refugees from slavery, who lived in Black Bottom during and after the Civil War and created one of the city’s first Black enclaves. In so doing, it argues for using space and place as analytical categories. Black Nashvillians claimed space by building Black Bottom into a neighborhood of labor, leisure, culture, education, and community. Attention to space offers insight into the lived experience of working-class African Americans and the opportunities and threats that urban life presented. The dissertation traces the racialization of place in a New South city by adopting the focused scope of a neighborhood study. White newspapers depicted Black Bottom as a slum and its residents as a danger to the entire city. The characterization of Black Bottom as a place of crime, vice, and disease was a crucial tool for those who sought to justify its policing, regulation, or even destruction. The dissertation also argues for the importance of space and place in the politics of Black claims-making and joins scholarship that has emphasized the collective nature of Black politics in the late nineteenth century. Claiming space brought tangible, real-world benefits for working-class African Americans. Black Bottom was a place where Black Nashvillians exercised freedom in the physical world, on porches and sidewalks, and in churches and dance halls. The physical space of Black Bottom enabled communal relationships among residents, which, in time, became a resource for Black claims-making. African Americans defended Nashville during the Civil War and claimed Black Bottom as their neighborhood. Later, the neighborhood defended the founding generation’s claims to the entitlements of wartime service.
  • Item
    Seeds of Discord: Extraordinary Commands and Constitutional Thought in the Roman Republic
    (2023) Cranford, Dustin Scott; Eckstein, Arthur; Lapin, Hayim; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Extraordinary commands remain a controversial subject in the history of the Roman Republic, especially regarding whether (or how) such commands contributed to the ultimate collapse of Rome’s republican government. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on the definition of extraordinary commands or the criteria for identifying them in modern scholarship, without which historians are unable to discern the true significance of these commands in Roman history. This dissertation argues that extraordinary commands are best understood as deviations from the Roman constitution, wherein the socio-political norms and laws intended to regulate Rome’s magistracies were subordinated, through either senatorial decree or popular vote, in order to accommodate the creation of an otherwise illegal military command. Starting with a historiographical survey of the modern discussion surrounding extraordinary commands, the early chapters of the dissertation also focus on analyzing the socio-political norms and rules that formed the basis of Rome’s republican constitution, as well as a detailed examination of Rome’s political institutions, especially the development of its executive magistracies. Next, a philological analysis of the terms extra ordinem, extraordinarium, and their Greek equivalents examines how Romans and Greeks themselves perceived extraordinary commands. The final chapters of this dissertation argue that the identification of extraordinary commands ultimately comes down to three analytical perspectives: the potential legal criteria of irregular magistracies, the magnitude of their occurrence, and whether they represented a deviation from Roman constitutional law. Finally, the dissertation concludes with an overview of all exceptional and extraordinary commands occurring over the course of the Roman Republic (509-31 BCE), along with a statistical analysis of the changing trends and evolution of extraordinary commands over time. In the end, a proper method of defining and identifying extraordinary commands helps modern historians truly understand the significance of such commands in Roman history. A well-known facet of Rome’s constitution was its flexibility, which allowed the Romans to find innovative solutions to crises facing the state over time, but extraordinary commands represented the breaking point of this flexibility.
  • Item
    The Library of Charles Carroll of Carollton
    (1990) Parker, Michael T.; Evans, Emory; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Charles Carroll of Carrollton was a pivotal leader in revolutionary Maryland and the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. This thesis attempts to set forth Carroll's intellectual life through an examination of the Carroll correspondence and the Antilon-First Citizen letters, and more important, by reconstructing the Carroll library as it existed during the years of the American Revolution. The reconstruction is based on five book lists that were made between 1759 and 1767, and on a catalogue made of the library in 1864 prior to its being sold at auction. The reconstruction is only an approximation of the Carroll library due to the following methodological limitations. First, not all the books that Carroll mentions in his correspondence are included on any of the book lists or in the auction catalogue. Second, after the death of his father Carroll undoubtedly merged his books with the family library. Third, only those books in the catalogue with a publication date prior to 1783 are included, thus including some and excluding others that Carroll may or may not have had during the Revolution. By the nature of the books in the library and from numerous hints in the Carroll correspondence, it is concluded that Carroll attempted to create an ideal libra ry. Therefore, because Carroll was one of the most erudite political participants of his time, this library is not only a reflection of Carroll's mind, but a map to the intellectual landscape of revolutionary America.
  • Item
    Larrons En Foire: Perceptions and Changing Strategies in Russia and Britain durring the Balkan Crises
    (2023) Trombley, Josiah D; Dolbilov, Mikhail; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    With a contemporary diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West heating up due to the Russo-Ukrainian War, this thesis looks at an often undervalued Nineteenth Century crisis that offers lessons for the ongoing political situation. This thesis argues that, instead of merely being a starting point for many polities in Southern Europe, the Balkan Crisis of 1876-1878 and the subsequent Treaty of Berlin are not only important for Balkan and Ottoman history, but also provides a crucial window into how a crisis could lead to changes in governing and national ideologies. Crucially, this thesis argues that despite the Russian government’s lack of representative bodies, and the British government’s own incredibly limited electorate, the perception of popular support at home for the Balkan peoples abroad altered the way in which leaders of both empires made diplomatic decisions throughout the Balkan Crises. Furthermore, this public sentiment, in this case support for Balkan nationalism and pan-nationalism, became part of an enduring legacy in the political spheres of both St. Petersburg and London.
  • Item
    (2023) LaRoche, Matthew David; Bonner, Christopher J; History/Library & Information Systems; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Philadelphia’s preeminence as an historical hub of Underground Railroad activity, popularized through the exploits of William Still, is well established. However, a series of archival gaps have virtually erased Philadelphia, and particularly the early years of its fugitive slave court, from the wider historiography of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. This work attempts to re-center Philadelphia, as well as its white-led abolitionist organizations and its African American community, in the scholarly discussion over the Act’s origin, intent, and effect. Attempting to overcome archival limitations, this work reconstructs the city’s first fugitive slave court, overseen by Commissioner Edward D. Ingraham from December of 1850 until his death in November of 1854, through the eyes of its participants. Using a close-reading approach, this thesis considers Philadelphia’s resistance to both the Ingraham court and the Act in toto from three perspectives. By comparing the case of Adam Gibson (the first victim of the Ingraham court) to that of Henry Massey, a Maryland freedomseeker and the last person sentenced before Ingraham’s death, this thesis establishes a documentary baseline through which one can trace the court’s evolution across the opening years of the Act’s enforcement. Through recreating the personal and institutional histories of Commissioner Ingraham, the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, and the abolitionist lawyers who represented Gibson, Massey, and other freedomseekers, this thesis provides context to evaluate the legal, social, and religious moves made by the city’s elite in response to the Act’s passage. Finally, by drawing out indications of black organization and agency hidden within the internal records of the Abolition Society itself, this thesis attempts to delineate the practical limits of interracial abolitionist cooperation within Philadelphia at the time. Ultimately, this thesis finds that a combination of geographic pressures and ideological guardrails particular to Philadelphia prevented a stronghold of abolitionist outrage from forming an effective counter to the Act, even while comparable cities (Boston, Syracuse, Harrisburg) developed legal and illegal strategies for shutting down their resident fugitive slave courts.
  • Item
    "So Long as They Are Efficient": Annexation, Boosterism and Law in Progressive Era Pittsburgh
    (2023) Weis, Christopher; Ross, Michael A.; Sicilia, David B.; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    My thesis examines annexation disputes from the mid-1800s to the present in Pittsburgh. My particular focus is on the clashes between the cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny. I look at why Pittsburgh’s annexation of Allegheny in 1906 succeeded while previous attempts to annex Allegheny failed. A combination of better lawyering and a unified elite class enabled Pittsburgh to finally annex Allegheny. The U.S. Supreme Court made this annexation official through the 1907 case of Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh. This case has a rich history and legacy. Much can be gleaned about the broader Progressive Era by examining this case in conjunction with the annexation. I conclude that the case and the annexation reflected a drive for efficiency then sweeping the elites of the nation. In addition, I assert that both the annexation and the Hunter decision highlighted the power of elites at this time to accomplish their goals.
  • Item
    Perpetuating Conflict: Postcolonial Intervention in Afghanistan During the Cold War
    (2023) Dauphin, Edward George; Chung, Patrick; Woods, Colleen; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    ArgumentThis thesis argues that during the postcolonial era, Cold War hegemons – The United States of America and the Soviet Union intervened in Afghanistan’s modernization to ensure their methods of modernization – capitalism and communism – remained the only options for developing nations to modernize. While most believe that American and Soviet intervention into Afghanistan was the result of Cold War geopolitics, I argue that questions of statehood and nation-making were the central factors in superpower involvement in the country. Amid a resurgence of traditional Islamic values, Afghanistan sought to modernize outside of the realm of bi-polar developmental paths imposed by American nation-state capitalism and Soviet communism. Largely founded on Orientalist beliefs, the hegemons refused to recognize the legitimacy of a modern Afghan nation built on Islamism. The hegemons believed that without First World influence, Afghan “tribalism” and “Islamism” were too primitive to possess the capability of progressing towards a modern state, one which they defined using western-orthodox models. Statehood, according to American and Soviet concepts of high modernism posited that a developing nations’ path to modernity adhered to a linear model centered on a market-based economy. According to the hegemons, once the developing nation established a market-based economy, the developing nation would adapt to either a communist or capitalist modes. Method This research for this thesis was conducted using recently declassified primary source material from the CIA’s CREST database, the Wilson Center Online for recently declassified KGB documents, and select memoirs from key individuals. Secondary source material was used to frame the historiographical context of my argument – focusing on how many historians degrade the Afghan peoples’ own agency in their modernization. When necessary, secondary source material was also used in order to fill the gaps left by redacted primary source material. Key concepts used for framing both the USG and KGB’s reasons for intervention included postcolonial modernization, High Modernism and Orientalism, and Traditional Islam. Major FindingsMajor Findings included: 1) Though they “officially” supported self-determination, the Soviet Politburo and USG found new methods to control developing nations; 2) Despite their Orientalist beliefs and hesitancy to support the PDPA, the Soviet Politburo seized the initiative in Afghanistan by planting KGB agents in PDPA; 3) The Soviet Politburo legitimized the PDPA’s modernization as high modernism by claiming that Afghanistan's tribalism created a market system, and the civil war was merely the next step in revolution towards socialism. 4) Realizing they could no longer control the PDPA, the Politburo was compelled to commit military forces to support the PDPA and maintain their influence; 5) The USG refused to recognized Afghanistan's modernization according to their own concepts of high modernism; 6) The USG sought to undermine the PDPA, the Soviet Politburo’s support of the PDPA, and Islamism as a means to modernization. De-legitimizing all three would prove American capitalism as the only viable means to modernization; 7) With no intention of establishing a long-term solution, and with no desire to threaten détente, the USG relied on the CIA and clandestine operations to perpetuate the Afghan Civil War; and 8) By perpetuating the Civil War to drive Afghanistan to become a failed state, the USG gained credibility over the Soviet Politburo. ConclusionWestern definitions of statehood and nationmaking were the driving factors behind USG and KGB intervention in Afghanistan. Afghanistan did not merely serve as the next battleground for hegemonic proxy war, instead the Afghan people sought to pursue a third method of modernization, one which conflicted with western views of high modernism. Due to preconceived notions of Orientalism, the USG and Soviet Politburo were compelled to prevent an alternative method of nationmaking to maintain their bipolar control of the world.
  • Item
    Insect Politics: Presidential Optics and the Promises of Manly Monsters in 1980s Horror Film
    (2023) Santos, James Nolan; Giovacchini, Saverio; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In their own terms, the intellectual and political spheres of the American 1980s spoke on conversations on gender through human bodies. Feminist theorist Sandy Stone wrote the foundational text for transgender studies in 1987 at the height of the Reagan Administration, which was defined by its own masculine politics. Between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, their White House Office of Communications staffers were tasked with upholding this image of masculinity, specifically upholding the physical bodies of men, going against 1980s feminist theorists that upheld binary views on gender. Horror filmmakers in Hollywood, however, more closely aligned with feminist thought regarding the flexibility of gender, and like the White House Office of Communications, used the bodies of characters onscreen to convey their ideas. This thesis is a comparative history of Washington and Hollywood in the 1980s, using the psychoanalytic framework of Julia Kristeva’s abject as a means to look beyond the gendered boundaries set by Washington and seeing how those same boundaries were manipulated by Hollywood.
  • Item
    (2023) Buser, Allison; Woods, Colleen; History/Library & Information Systems; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    During the initial decade of the Smithsonian Institution’s existence, its first secretary, Joseph Henry, sought to establish an institution for the advancement of science that defied popular understandings of scientific work in the United States. From the end of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth century, American science was infused with republican ideology and was widely expected to prioritize practical results that would directly benefit society at large. At the Smithsonian, Henry sought to establish a boundary between professional, theoretical science, conducted and distributed more selectively among experts, and wider public influence and demand for utilitarian scientific work. Examination of discourse in popular publications reveals that Henry’s plan created an ongoing public debate in the 1850s regarding the Smithsonian’s legitimate scientific mission. This included criticism of the Smithsonian publications program’s inaccessibility and lack of utility to the public as well as many alternative proposals for how the institution might be of better scientific use to Americans. Such expectations that Smithsonian research and resources would serve the general American population were also expressed throughout the correspondence of the Smithsonian Meteorology Project—the Institution’s first major scientific research initiative. Although Henry sought to create a boundary between theInstitution’s work and the public, the utilitarian demands of many of the project’s volunteer observers ensured that the practical goals of the public remained intertwined with Henry’s own goals to promote theoretical science in the development of the Smithsonian. The influential work of this extended scientific community was often made possible through the contributions of additional members of households. Close reading of the meteorological project correspondence reveals an extensive, although often officially unacknowledged, contribution from women and other individuals whose labor was often more fixed to the household. While the public volunteers of the project shaped the trajectory of the Smithsonian, the devalued labor of peripheral contributors to the Institution’s large-scale data work set important precedent for professional scientific frameworks at the end of the century. Overall, the relationship between the early Smithsonian and the public in the 1850s demonstrates that the process of establishing borders defining a professional/amateur dichotomy in American science was uneven. The Institution contended with republican expectations of the scientific public and its projects continued to rely upon contributors without formal or elite credentials who in turn demanded accessible and practical research and shaped scientific institutions. Despite Joseph Henry's contribution to the professionalization and specialization of science, the boundaries of science and who could participate in scientific research remained fluid through the mid-nineteenth century.
  • Item
    Projecting Authority: Maps of a Contested Texas, 1822-1848
    (2023) Frazier, Emily; Zeller, Thomas; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In the early to mid-nineteenth century, as in many other periods, the porosity of Texas’ borders and the mobility of people across them created a setting for contestation and negotiation of power and identity. Between 1822 and 1848, the constant shifts in control over a large geographic area, the nebulous identities of residents, and the frequent but often defied governmental decrees over issues like slavery and Mexican statehood prevented any one power from getting a strong hold over Texas. Despite this uncertain reality, a key tool of state powers, individuals, and business interests alike to get a handle on Texas were maps. This thesis will utilize the circumstances of production, the content, and the context of these maps to examine how an uncertain and contested Texas conflicted with stable and authoritative mapping norms. I argue that in this setting, maps functioned as tools of Anglo nation-building in a region seen in the United States as up in the air. Moreover, I argue that Anglo-produced maps funneled the instability of nineteenth-century Texas through a distorted lens that positioned Anglo Texans as the saviors of a wilderness not adequately maintained or exploited by its Mexican and Indigenous residents. I demonstrate this argument by using the maps themselves as central sources, as the representational images shown on the maps had significant staying power in the minds of the audiences which consumed them. This project aims to reframe nineteenth century Texas history as a question not only of actual political and territorial control, but of perception and projection.
  • Item
    (2023) Callahan, Shawn Patrick; Sumida, Jon T; Chung, Patrick; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation analyzes the origins of the American concept of maneuver warfare and the process through which that concept was first encoded as military doctrine in 1989 by the U.S. Marine Corps in Fleet Marine Force Manual 1 (FMFM 1), Warfighting. Examining the process through which these ideas were incepted, matured, and encoded in doctrine makes it clear that the prevailing narrative is deficient in several important ways, and these misconceptions obstruct an accurate understanding of what maneuver warfare is and how military organizations deal with radical new ideas. A detailed examination of the ideas advanced by John Boyd, the man commonly thought to be the creator of maneuver warfare based upon his Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) Cycle theory, shows that neither of those concepts was ever his central argument. Rather, Boyd was developing a much more expansive theory of competition and conflict, and his method and ideas are widely misunderstood. It was a military reform colleague of Boyd’s named William S. Lind who originated the concept of maneuver warfare based on his own interpretation of German military history. He promoted this style of fighting through a dichotomous model contrasting it with firepower/attrition warfare in an effort to help the U.S. Army understand how it needed to change its approach to warfare. Ultimately, Lind’s ideas about maneuver warfare found better reception within the U.S. Marine Corps, where he worked with Marines in several different organizations to further develop the concept. The way that Lind incorporated Boyd’s early ideas to promote maneuver warfare has much to do with why Boyd’s role and theory are misunderstood today. The Marines who interacted with Lind, and to a lesser degree Boyd, meanwhile, played an important role in developing the supporting concepts and techniques needed to make maneuver warfare an actionable approach to war. Efforts to incorporate the new ideas in Marine Corps doctrine were limited less by simple institutional conservatism than they were by the inability of the service’s bureaucracy to incorporate fundamentally new concepts, which required a particular new, shared understanding of war. The most important achievement of FMFM 1 was not that it formally adopted maneuver warfare, but its definition of a common conception of war within which maneuver warfare made sense, emphasizing moral and mental factors, the inherent nonlinearity of warfare, and the fundamental uncertainty that surrounded military decision-making. This, defining a new way of thinking about war that all Marines would share, was the most significant accomplishment of FMFM 1. However, this accomplishment has been undercut by several misconceptions about maneuver warfare, all of which were byproducts of the process through which the concept was formed and promoted.