History Theses and Dissertations

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    A Force for Reform: The American Presbyterian Mission Press in China, 1836-1870
    (1877) Dove, Kay Lee; Folsom, Kenneth E.; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    The American Presbyterian Mission Press (PMP) was a vital, if indirect, force in stimulating intellectual reform in China. During its early years, 1836-1870, the PMP developed technological innovations in the printing of the Chinese language that led to the modernization of the Chinese printing industry, which, in turn, provided textbooks for modern education and periodical literature for the development of public opinion. At the same time, the Press trained a corps of Chinese in modern printing technology, which was then able to apply this training in Chinese private and governmental printing offices. The PMP worked with Chinese printing establishments, selling them Chinese type and assisting them to purchase printing presses and other equipment which was necessary for use with metal movable type. Before the 19th century Chinese printing had become a finely developed art, but by this time, printing technology in Europe and America had modernized, and it was more efficient and less expensive. Type founders and missionaries in Europe and Asia reduced the 40,000-character Chinese language to amanageable number by determining which characters were necessary for printing Christian literature. Then they mass-produced them in metal movable type. The PMP was the pioneer that succeeded in this effort, thereby modernizing China's printing industry and promoting the massive introduction of Western secular as well as religious thought. The modernization of China in general rests upon the modernization of the printing industry, for this development preceded and made possible the reforms which followed it.
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    Clio at College Park: The Teaching of History at the University of Maryland, 1859-1968
    (1978) Ross, Martha Jackson; Rundell, Walter Jr; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    The evolution of the teaching of history at the University of Maryland reflects both the changing role of history as a course of study and the altered status of history as a scholarly discipline. After a succession of history teachers with degrees in English or political science, the first professor with a history Ph.D., Hayes Baker-Crothers, came to Maryland in 1925. Other trained historians followed, but growth was slow. In 1940, President H.C. Byrd hired Wesley M. Gewehr to head the History Department. In the wake of stresses of World War II, dissension between Byrd and Gewehr caused even more neglect than might otherwise have accrued to a "service" department. History appointments, salaries, and facilities all suffered from Byrd's hostility throughout his administration. Four years after Byrd resigned in 1954, Gewehr retired, leaving to his successor, Aubrey C. Land, the task of developing a true university department with the support of the new president, Wilson H. Elkins. With worthwhile objectives but an abrasive manner, Land alienated a significant number of his senior faculty, especially those who had been close to Gewehr. Eventually, Land lost the confidence and support of the administration and withdrew as department head. An interim committee administered the department under the direction of Dean Charles Manning until a new chairman, David A. Shannon, was chosen in 1965. A recognized scholar, Shannon attracted a number of distinguished historians in a variety of scholarly fields before departing after three years. With a faculty of achievement and promise, the University of Maryland moved to capitalize on its advantageous location near the nation's capital to establish a History Department of the first rank.
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    (2022) Graff, Ala Creciun; Dolbilov, Mikhail; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation examines the rise of the private political press and its engagement in Russian politics during the 1860s-1880s. During these three decades, Russia’s newspaper press underwent a dramatic cultural, technological, and political change. Censorship liberalization and accelerating communication technology transformed the Russian newspaper from a marginal genre on the print landscape into a hub of information exchange and a vibrant forum for political discussion, where editors sought to influence not only public opinion, but also bureaucratic decision making. Whereas existing literature has focused on the influence of the state on the press (censorship) or the role of the press in shaping a civil society, this dissertation uncovers the ways in which the press influenced political discussion and decision-making.Concentrating on a handful of prominent newspapers during the 1860s-1880s, such as M.N. Katkov’s Moskovskie Vedomosti, A.A. Kraevskii’s Golos, A.S. Suvorin’s Novoe Vremia, and I.S. Aksakov’s Rus’, this study explores a variety of ways in which these newspapers and their powerful editors shaped debates, careers, and political outcomes in Russia’s political stage. The dissertation is the first to examine the increased readership and impact of the private political press within the bureaucratic ranks and at court, and to track the penetration of newspaper discourses into policy discussion and decision-making. It dissects the complex relationships of collaboration, patronage, and mutual dependency between press editors and bureaucratic officials. Prominent editors aligned themselves with like-minded bureaucratic interest groups to advance political ideas, engage in fierce polemics, and take on political rivals; their partisanship made the press a surrogate of party politics in Russia. The growing entanglements of politics and press spanned wide networks of press informants, agents, and protegees within government ranks, whose leaks fueled public debate and further eroded the government control of information. Discreet instruments of political maneuvering, private political newspapers ultimately served as vehicles for the political agendas and ideologies of their editors. This dissertation traces the emergence of the “journalist-politician” M.N. Katkov, who, as an ideologue of Emperor Alexander III’s rule, formulated a new basis of monarchic legitimacy grounded in national politics (narodnost’), an all-estate approach (vsesoslovnost’), and welfare policies (blagosostoianie). Taking a broader approach to Katkov’s intellectual legacy – beyond his national politics – and borrowing revisionist approaches in recent literature, this study builds an alternative framework for understanding perhaps the most prominent newspaper editor of the nineteenth century. Delving into Katkov’s direct work on two key reforms of Alexander III’s rule, this study sheds light on an extent of influence exercised by the press on political processes. This work contributes fresh perspectives on the role of the press on the political stage and its relationship with the state in late Imperial Russia. It reveals that the press, far from the supplicant of the government, became a powerful political actor in its own right. Ultimately, this study demonstrates that the rise of Russia’s private political press eroded the government’s control over information, over the shaping of political narratives, and finally over political processes.
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    "A Decent External Sorrow": Death, Mourning, and the American Revolution
    (2022) Dye, Dusty Marie; Bell, Richard; History; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation argues that the study of eighteenth-century deathways provide important perspectives on the lives and experiences of those who lived through the colonial era, the Imperial Crisis, the American Revolution, and the early national period. Beginning with a broad survey of funereal culture in colonial America, it shows that individuals used their mourning customs to make public and private statements about a variety of topics ranging from proper social relationships to intimate matters of religious conviction and personal feelings. It also demonstrates that, as Americans faced the numerous challenges and changes of the eighteenth century, they adapted their funeral customs to suit new circumstances and worldviews. Thus, as tensions arose between Great Britain and its North American colonies over issues of Parliamentary policy, American protestors expressed their discontent by staging mock funerals and executions of government officials. At the same time, they boycotted imported mourning accessories in an attempt, not only to put economic pressure on Britain, but also to demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice public status and private comfort to preserve colonial liberties. When American resistance to British rule broke out into armed conflict, wartime disruptions to burial customs required further changes and new understandings of funeral rites. By both tradition and official regulations, differences in military rank usually served as the most important consideration in soldiers’ funerals. However, strict separation between officers and the rank-and-file, and sometimes even broader conventions of “decent” burials, were often subject to the vagaries of war. When casualties were high, or when armies had to move quickly, the disposal of the dead took second place to the imperatives of military strategy. Similarly, the crowded and unsanitary conditions of hospitals and wartime prisons often led to perfunctory or even indecent interments as burial parties struggled to deal with high mortality rates and the callousness of enemy captors. These significant departures from traditional funeral rites often distressed soldiers as they witnessed the deaths of their friends, neighbors, and comrades. Many tried to provide whatever final respects they could to the fallen, even as official rhetoric encouraged them to believe that the approbation of God and country would serve as ample reward for patriots’ sacrifice. In the years after the war, funereal culture became one arena in which Americans attempted to work out the meaning of the ideals that had underpinned the War for Independence. As many began to look forward to the return of traditional mourning practices, the growth of religious freedom and promises of liberty and natural equality encouraged individuals to use their funeral customs to communicate new denominational alliances and to challenge older ideas about social hierarchies. These changes encouraged churches to adapt their approach to the final services that they offered, prompted merchants to return to offering a wide array of mourning accessories, and encouraged the growth of the undertaking profession in America. At the same time, the fallen soldiers of the Revolution, as well as those who survived the conflict, presented special challenges as the nation attempted to grapple with the legacies of the war. Ultimately, the task of finally reconciling with the dead of the American Revolution would fall to later generations as they defined their own relationship to the nation’s founding conflict.
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    Henry Theodore Tuckerman as Revealed in his Published Works
    (1959) Ellsworth, Richard Grant; Beall, Otho T.; American Civilization; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    Henry Theodore Tuckerman, as revealed in his published works, was, in many ways, a model of the mid-nineteenth century American. In his travel accounts, his historical and biographical scholarship, his social and political attitudes, his artistic and literary criteria, is revealed his sincere allegiance to the Romantic Idealism which dominated his day. This allegiance is shown in his belief in the fundamental goodness and inevitable progress of mankind; in his basic individualism, an almost transcendental egocentrism, which mystically identified the human soul with God, and interpreted self-reliance in terms of intuitional supranatural apprehension; in his dichotomization of his realities, separating the Ideal from the practical, the intuitive from the reasonable, the commonplace from the beautiful, the here and now from the distant and the past; in his acceptance of Nature as the representation of the Ideal, and of the feminine as the symbol of the Beautiful; in his fealty to emotion and sympathy as the mystical keys to all human relationships; in his strict and didactic morality; and in his professed national ism and proclamation of divine purpose and destiny in America . Yet, he was conservative in his personal refusal to become involved in reformism, in either outright abolitionism or feminism; in his determined and maintained attitude of Brahmin aloofness from "the herd" and "the multitude"; in his willingness to submit himself to governmental mandate, to support, at least nominally, what was legal and generally accepted; and in his overly-developed and almost unnatural reticence which prevented his from ever achieving that intense ego-exploration imperative within the Romantic philosophy. His published works reveal him to have been profoundly influenced by three major factors in his private live: his mother's death, his Italian residence, and his deep aversion for the commercial life. Possibly, in his need for social (and, especially, feminine) acceptability, his adoration of the ideal woman, and, perhaps, his easy acceptance of the sentimental and the emotional. His Italian travels and residence introduced him to the artistic experience and instilled in him a determination to devote his life to the Beautiful and to the encouragement of its creation and appreciation. And His aversion to the common precepts and standards demanded by American commercialistic enterprise influenced this decision, and shaped his life philosophy in its declaration of an over-stressed materiality in American life, and consequent under-development of the spiritual and the intellectual. With the exception of some of his better poems, Tuckerman's travel accounts best reveal his personal attitutdes and feelings toward his time and his world. As a scholar, Tuckerman read widely, but not deeply. His recorded perceptions almost always appear to be reflections of the parallel conclusions of his greater contemporaries. But he considered his theories his own, and, although he often documented a though or a conclusion, he never admitted to an intellectual debt or spiritual guidance. Tuckerman's greatest significance is in his constant effort to popularize the Beautiful, and thus to enrich American life. He sought always to broaden the public perceptions, to increase American aesthetic appreciation, to combat American reoccupation with commercialism. He was ever the propagandizer for good taste and cultural cultivation. His published works all evidence this. As a recorder of travels, he encouraged an appreciation for European cultural achievement. As a historian and biographer, he was narrative and moralistic. As a literary and art critic, he ever diligently encouraged the writer and the artist, and always sympathetically explained and interpreted to their audience. As a poet and author in his own right, although he often proved sympathetic with the sentimental demands of his age, he, nevertheless, in spite of such lapses, always strove to broaden the public outlook toward the Beautiful and the Cultural as he perceived them to be. That his audience appreciated his effort is readily apparent in his evident contemporary popularity. But his death and the end of his social influence, the broad standard and contemporary nature of his appeal , and the swiftly changing public interest, all combined to prove his fame ephemeral, and to banish him to a modern obscurity unworthy of his sincere intent and effort, and obvious contemporary accomplishment. Henry Theodore Tuckerman deserves to be remembered not only for his yet-standard biographical scholarship, and his service as a historian of art and artists in America, but also for his exemplary thought and attitude, the cultured reflections of the literary and artistic standards of mid-nineteenth century America.