History Theses

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    (2022-09-06) Coghlan, William
    This thesis argues that the Irish Brigade’s reliance on the Irish-American communities of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia was crucial to its continued existence throughout the Civil War. The Irishmen continued the tradition of their forefathers in fighting within their adoptive country’s army, but the brigade had further appeal to the Irish-American community: its promise to fight for Irish Independence upon completion of the war in the United States. Several decisions made by the brigade’s leadership, coupled with heavy losses on some of the bloodiest battlefields of the war meant the Irish Brigade was in a constant struggle to refill its ranks. This thesis examines these factors that translated to reluctance within the Irish-American communities to send more men to fill its ranks.
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    Witches, Wolves, and Wilderness: Notions of Purity and Righteous Domination in Early America
    (2020-06-01T00:00:00-07:00) Burton, Neil
    An examination of the ideological, theological, and archetypal forces behind early New England colonists' conception of America as the potential for a "New Canaan", an idealized and restocked version of the overburdened, at-capacity, denuded agrarian Europe they left behind but which continued to shape their perceptions of their ongoing experience. In particular, their conception of an omnipotent, judgmental, white, male anthropomorphized God would guide their notions of their own sense of entitlement and supremacy in these new lands inhabited by non-white people and wild non humans. This vision would affect nearly all early American practices and attitudes relating to 'New' World flora, fauna, conceptions of wilderness, and the disintegration of indigenous societies, and it would influence the shape taken by emerging extraction and subsistence economies. In addition, the transmission of European cultural elements such as witch hysteria and an emerging proto capitalism of colonial resource commodification to New England was emblematic of this overarching worldview. The subordination or elimination of animals, plants, and whole ecosystems by colonists often mirrored constructed human social and gender subordination hierarchies and was often powered by compulsive acquisitive proto-capitalist behavior from the subsistence level to the owner class
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    How Eric Sloane Retold American History
    (2020-05-01T00:00:00-07:00) Lisi, Brandon
    This thesis seeks to prove the significance of Eric Sloane during the Cold War reconstruction of America's historical memory. Sloane's quest for identity parallels that of his country: grappling with the past to form narratives. He was almost universally praised, frustrating some academics. Therefore, this thesis also analyzes the split between professional and popular history through the lens of Sloane's extensive work. It reveals his shortcomings but also the continued usefulness of his contributions. It explains how a storyteller without professional training retold American history, leaving behind enduring narratives that last to this day.
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    The Science of Intolerance: Puritans and Dissention in Seventeenth-Century New England
    (2020-05-01T00:00:00-07:00) Osborne, Gregory
    This thesis examines the relationship between science and Puritanism in colonial New England during the seventeenth century and early eighteenth century by examining outbreaks of opposition to Puritan hegemony. It examines how the trans-Atlantic world of early modern science shaped the mind of Puritan elites to think concurrently in scientific and theological terms in defense of their faith, specifically how the application of scientific principles supplanted inward experience in pursuit of knowledge. Focusing on certain Puritan luminaries, such as John Winthrop, Increase Mather, and Cotton Mather, this thesis demonstrates that throughout the seventeenth century, Puritan leaders exceedingly defended their traditional form of congregationalism against opposition with a scientific mind . Additionally, this thesis utilizes a combination of sermons, journals, pamphlets, and publications, to uncover that for a short while in the colonial history of New England, science and religion coalesced for the betterment of both.
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    THE REVENANT SCREEN: Cinematic Hauntings, Horror, and American Culture
    (2020-05-06T00:00:00-07:00) Pisano, Vincent
    This thesis analyzes ghosts and hauntings in horror cinema from the earliest inceptions through the early twenty-first century through the lens of cultural history. Through a synthetic treatment of literary and filmic scholarship, historical consideration, and textual analysis, this examination reveals how ghosts and hauntings within American horror cinema reflect the cultural preoccupations of contemporary society' especially, but not limited to, their fears and anxieties. A survey of pre-cinematic ghost depictions contextualizes the reception and creation of the earliest cinematic offerings. For the first half of the twentieth century American filmic ghosts reflected the prevailing incredulous attitudes towards Spiritualism. Though the ghost was traditionally an entity to incite fear, Americans were slow to accept the real ghost as a viable cinematic monster. In the 1960s horrific film ghosts were finally taken seriously, serving as manifestations of mental fragility, and in the 1970s resonated with a struggling American working-class. Haunted structures served as reminders of contemporary economic fears and the financial burdens placed on families. By the 1980s ghosts became more destructive though soon lost their ability to frighten. At the millennium's turn, ghosts acted as totems of reconciliation but after tragedies of September 11, 2001, were connected to anxieties surrounding technological dependence. Finally, by the early 2010s ghosts were largely demonic entities bent on destroying middle-class notions of economic security and traditional familial roles, resultant of the recent economic recession.