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 Degree Discipline: History
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Married in a Frisky Mode: Clandestine and Irregular Marriages in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Married in a Frisky Mode: Clandestine and Irregular Marriages in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Date: August 2016
Creator: Smith, Summer
Description: The practice of irregular and clandestine marriage ran rampant throughout Britain for centuries, but when the upper class felt they needed to reassert their social supremacy, marriage was one arena in which they sought to do so. The restrictions placed on irregular marriages were specifically aimed at protecting the elite and maintaining a separation between themselves and the lower echelon of society. The political, social, and economic importance of marriage motivated its regulation, as the connections made with the matrimonial bond did not affect only the couple, but their family, and, possibly, their country. Current historiography addresses this issue extensively, particularly in regards to Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753 in England. There is, however, a lack of investigation into other groups that influenced and were influenced by the English approach to clandestine marriage. The Scots, Irish, and British military all factor into the greater landscape of clandestine marriage in eighteenth-century Britain and an investigation of them yields a more complete explanation of marital practices, regulations, and reactions to both that led to and stemmed from Hardwicke's Act. This explanation shows the commonality of ideas among Britons regarding marriage and the necessity of maintaining endogamous unions for the benefit of ...
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Peculiar Pairings: Texas Confederates and Their Body Servants

Peculiar Pairings: Texas Confederates and Their Body Servants

Date: August 2016
Creator: Elliott, Brian
Description: Peculiar Pairings: Texas Confederates and their Body Servants is an examination of the relationship between Texas Confederates and the slaves they brought with them during and after the American Civil War. The five chapter study seeks to make sense of the complex relationships shared by some Confederate masters and their black body servants in order to better understand the place of "black Confederates" in Civil War memory. This thesis begins with an examination of what kind of Texans brought body servants to war with them and the motivations they may have had for doing so. Chapter three explores the interactions between master and slave while on the march. Chapter four, the crux of the study, focuses on a number of examples that demonstrate the complex nature of the master slave relationship in a war time environment, and the effects of these relationships during the post-Civil War era.
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Imagining the Empire: Germany Through the Eyes of Early Modern English Travellers

Imagining the Empire: Germany Through the Eyes of Early Modern English Travellers

Date: August 2016
Creator: Micheals, Isaac
Description: This thesis is a study of early modern English travel narratives and the ways they presented the German states and their people to the public through the medium of print. It is based on an analysis of forty seven published travel narratives written by men and women who toured Germany and wrote about their experiences. The study situates these writings in the context of the growing sense of national identity in early modern Europe and offers an assessment of how these travel narratives contributed to a uniquely English understanding of Germany. As English travel narratives about Germany in the early modern period evolved, writers highlighted distinctive characteristics they believed Germans possessed, and compared their subjects to themselves. Travelers presented diverse and even conflicting views on a variety of subjects related to Germany. Nevertheless, by the late eighteenth century, English travelers had fashioned a common set of images, stereotypes, and characteristics of Germany and its people.
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Causes of the Jewish Diaspora Revolt in Alexandria: Regional Uprisings from the Margins of Greco-Roman Society

Causes of the Jewish Diaspora Revolt in Alexandria: Regional Uprisings from the Margins of Greco-Roman Society

Date: May 2016
Creator: Vargas, Miguel M
Description: This thesis examines the progression from relatively peaceful relations between Alexandrians and Jews under the Ptolemies to the Diaspora Revolt under the Romans. A close analysis of the literature evidences that the transition from Ptolemaic to Roman Alexandria had critical effects on Jewish status in the Diaspora. One of the most far reaching consequences of the shift from the Ptolemies to Romans was forcing the Alexandrians to participate in the struggle for imperial patronage. Alexandrian involvement introduced a new element to the ongoing conflict among Egypt’s Jews and native Egyptians. The Alexandrian citizens consciously cut back privileges the Jews previously enjoyed under the Ptolemies and sought to block the Jews from advancing within the Roman system. Soon the Jews were confronted with rhetoric slandering their civility and culture. Faced with a choice, many Jews forsook Judaism and their traditions for more upwardly mobile life. After the outbreak of the First Jewish War Jewish life took a turn for the worse. Many Jews found themselves in a system that classified them according to their heritage and ancestry, limiting advancement even for apostates. With the resulting Jewish tax (fiscus Judaicus) Jews were becoming more economically and socially marginalized. The Alexandrian Jews were ...
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Hungering for Independence: The Relationship between Food and Morale in the Continental Army, 1775-1783

Hungering for Independence: The Relationship between Food and Morale in the Continental Army, 1775-1783

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Date: May 2016
Creator: Maxwell, Nancy
Description: An adequate supply of the right kinds of foods is critical to an army's success on the march and on the battlefield. Good food supplies and a dire lack of provisions have profound effects on the regulation, confidence, esprit de corps, and physical state of an army. The American War of Independence (1775-1783) provides a challenging case study of this principle. The relationship between food and troop morale has been previously discussed as just one of many factors that contributed to the success of the Continental Army, but has not been fully explored as a single issue in its own right. I argue that despite the failures of three provisioning system adopted by the Continental Congress - the Commissariat, the state system of specific supplies, and the contract system - the army did keep up its morale and achieve the victory that resulted in independence from Great Britain. The evidence reveals that despite the poor provisioning, the American army was fed in the field for eight years thanks largely to its ability to forage for its food. This foraging system, if it can be called a system, was adequate to sustain morale and perseverance.
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Forgotten Legacies: The U.S. Glider Pilot Training Program and Lamesa Field, Texas, During World War II

Forgotten Legacies: The U.S. Glider Pilot Training Program and Lamesa Field, Texas, During World War II

Date: May 2016
Creator: Garner, Christian A.
Description: Rapidly initiated at the national, regional, and local levels, the American glider pilot training program came about due to a perceived need after successful German operations at the outset of World War II. Although the national program successfully produced the required number of pilots to facilitate combat operations, numerous changes and improvisation came to characterize the program. Like other American military initiatives in the twentieth century, the War Department applied massive amounts of effort, dollars, and time to a program that proved to be short-lived in duration because it was quickly discarded when new technologies appeared. At the local level, the real loser was Lamesa, Texas. Bearing the brunt of these changes by military decision makers, the citizens of Lamesa saw their hard-fought efforts to secure an airfield fall quickly by the wayside in the wake of changing national defense priorities. As generations continue to pass and memories gradually fade, it is important to document and understand the relationship between this military platform that saw limited action and a small Texas town that had a similarly short period of significance to train the pilots who flew the aircraft.
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Commercial Diplomacy: The Berlin-Baghdad Railway and Its Peaceful Effects on Pre-World War I Anglo-German Relations

Commercial Diplomacy: The Berlin-Baghdad Railway and Its Peaceful Effects on Pre-World War I Anglo-German Relations

Date: May 2016
Creator: Bukaty, Ryan Michael
Description: Slated as an economic outlet for Germany, the Baghdad Railway was designed to funnel political influence into the strategically viable regions of the Near East. The Railway was also designed to enrich Germany's coffers with natural resources with natural resources and trade with the Ottomans, their subjects, and their port cities... Over time, the Railway became the only significant route for Germany to reach its "place in the sun," and what began as an international enterprise escalated into a bid for diplomatic influence in the waning Ottoman Empire.
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Manhood in Spain: Feminine Perspectives of Masculinity in the Seventeenth Century

Manhood in Spain: Feminine Perspectives of Masculinity in the Seventeenth Century

Date: May 2016
Creator: Gomez, Clemente
Description: The question of decline in the historiography of seventeenth-century Spain originally included socio-economic analyses that determined the decline of Spain was an economic recession. Eventually, the historiographical debate shifted to include cultural elements of seventeenth-century Spanish society. Gender within the context of decline provides further insight into how the deterioration of the Spanish economy and the deterioration of Spanish political power in Europe affected Spanish self-perception. The prolific Spanish women writers, in addition, featured their points of view on manhood in their works and created a model of masculinity known as virtuous masculinity. They expected Spanish men to perform their masculine duties as protectors and providers both in public and in private. Seventeenth-century decline influenced how women viewed masculinity. Their new model of masculinity was based on ideas that male authors had developed, but went further by emphasizing men treating their wives well.
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The Old Alcalde: Oran Milo Roberts, Texas's Forgotten Fire-Eater

The Old Alcalde: Oran Milo Roberts, Texas's Forgotten Fire-Eater

Date: May 2016
Creator: Yancey, William C.
Description: Oran Milo Roberts was at the center of every important event in Texas between 1857 and 1883. He served on the state supreme court on three separate occasions, twice as chief justice. As president of the 1861 Secession Convention he was instrumental in leading Texas out of the Union. He then raised and commanded an infantry regiment in the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, Roberts was a delegate to the 1866 Constitutional Convention and was elected by the state legislature to the United States Senate, though Republicans in Congress refused to seat him. He served two terms as governor from 1879 to 1883. Despite being a major figure in Texas history, there are no published biographies of Roberts. This dissertation seeks to examine Roberts's place in Texas history and analyze the factors that drove him to seek power. It will also explore the major events in which he participated and determine his historical legacy to the state.
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Russian Peasant Women's Resistance Against the State during the Antireligious Campaigns of 1928-1932

Russian Peasant Women's Resistance Against the State during the Antireligious Campaigns of 1928-1932

Date: May 2016
Creator: Millier, Callie Anne
Description: This study seeks to explore the role of peasant women in resistance to the antireligious campaigns during collectivization and analyze how the interplay of the state and resistors formed a new culture of religion in the countryside. I argue that while the state’s succeeded in controlling most of the public sphere, peasant women, engaging in subversive activities and exploiting the state’s ideology, succeeded in preserving a strong peasant adherence to religion prior to World War II. It was peasant women’s determination and adaptation that thwarted the party’s goal of nation-wide atheism.
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Let the Dogs Bark: The Psychological War in Vietnam, 1960-1968

Let the Dogs Bark: The Psychological War in Vietnam, 1960-1968

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Date: May 2016
Creator: Roberts, Mervyn Edwin
Description: Between 1960 and 1968 the United States conducted intensive psychological operations (PSYOP) in Vietnam. To date, no comprehensive study of the psychological war there has been conducted. This dissertation fills that void, describing the development of American PSYOP forces and their employment in Vietnam. By looking at the complex interplay of American, North Vietnamese, National Liberation Front (NLF) and South Vietnamese propaganda programs, a deeper understanding of these activities and the larger war emerges. The time period covered is important because it comprises the initial introduction of American PSYOP advisory forces and the transition to active participation in the war. It also allows enough time to determine the long-term effects of both the North Vietnamese/NLF and American/South Vietnamese programs. Ending with the 1968 Tet Offensive is fitting because it marks both a major change in the war and the establishment of the 4th Psychological Operations Group to manage the American PSYOP effort. This dissertation challenges the argument that the Northern/Viet Cong program was much more effective that the opposing one. Contrary to common perceptions, the North Vietnamese propaganda increasingly fell on deaf ears in the south by 1968. This study also provides support for understanding the Tet Offensive as a ...
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Humping it on their Backs: A Material Culture Examination of the Vietnam Veterans’ Experience as Told Through the Objects they Carried

Humping it on their Backs: A Material Culture Examination of the Vietnam Veterans’ Experience as Told Through the Objects they Carried

Date: May 2016
Creator: Herman, Thomas Shannon
Description: The materials of war, defined as what soldiers carry into battle and off the battlefield, have much to offer as a means of identifying and analyzing the culture of those combatants. The Vietnam War is extremely rich in culture when considered against the changing political and social climate of the United States during the 1960s and 70s. Determining the meaning of the materials carried by Vietnam War soldiers can help identify why a soldier is fighting, what the soldier’s fears are, explain certain actions or inactions in a given situation, or describe the values and moral beliefs that governed that soldier’s conduct. “Carry,” as a word, often refers to something physical that can be seen, touched, smelled, or heard, but there is also the mental material, which does not exist in the physical space, that soldiers collect in their experiences prior to, during, and after battle. War changes the individual soldier, and by analyzing what he or she took (both physical and mental), attempts at self-preservation or defense mechanisms to harden the body and mind from the harsh realities of war are revealed. In the same respect, what the soldiers brought home is also a means of preservation; preserving those ...
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Competing Models of Hegemonic Masculinity in English Civil War Memoirs by Women

Competing Models of Hegemonic Masculinity in English Civil War Memoirs by Women

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Date: December 2015
Creator: Du Bon-Atmai, Evelyn
Description: This thesis examines the descriptions of Royalist and Parliamentarian masculinity in English Civil War memoirs by women through a close reading of three biographical memoirs written by Margaret Cavendish, duchess of Newcastle; Lady Ann Fanshawe; and Lucy Hutchinson. Descriptions of masculinity are evaluated through the lens of Raewyn Connell's theory of hegemonic masculinity to understand the impact two competing models of masculinity had on the social and political culture of the period. The prevailing Parliamentarian hegemonic masculinity in English Civil War memoirs is traced to its origins before the English Civil War to demonstrate how hegemonic masculinity changes over time. The thesis argues that these memoirs provide evidence of two competing models of Royalist and Parliamentarian masculinities during the Civil War that date back to changes in the Puritan meaning of the phrase “man of merit”, which influenced the development of a Parliamentarian model of masculinity.
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Let Her Be Shorn: 1 Corinthians 11 and Female Head Shaving in Antiquity

Let Her Be Shorn: 1 Corinthians 11 and Female Head Shaving in Antiquity

Date: December 2015
Creator: Montier, Curtis E.
Description: In 1 Corinthians 11:3-15, Paul writes that if a woman is to be so immodest as to wear her hair uncovered while praying or prophesying in a Christian assembly she might as well shave her head. Paul instructs the Corinthians that it is “one and the same” for a woman to have her head shaved and for her to unveil her hair. There is a large body of works cataloging the modesty standards in Hellenistic Greece but Paul’s reference to head-shaving remains obscure. This thesis looks to find the best explanation of Paul’s instructions. Research in this topic began as an investigation of a popular modern view. It can be found in conversation or a simple Google search, that women in Ancient Greece with their head shaved were prostitutes. Beyond being prostitutes, they were probably temple prostitutes. The evidence does not bear this out as there is no artwork depicting prostitutes, or indeed any women, with their heads shaved. Instead prostitutes are shown in Greek erotic art with both long and short hair, some with and some without head coverings. Literary sources do offer several different examples of women who had their hair cut off. There are examples of women ...
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The Countess of Counter-revolution: Madame Du Barry and the 1791 Theft of Her Jewelry

The Countess of Counter-revolution: Madame Du Barry and the 1791 Theft of Her Jewelry

Date: December 2015
Creator: Lewis, Erik Braeden
Description: Jeanne Bécu, an illegitimate child from the Vaucouleurs area in France, ascended the ranks of the Ancien régime to become the Countess du Barry and take her place as Royal Mistress of Louis XV. During her tenure as Royal Mistress, Jeanne amassed a jewel collection that rivaled all private collections. During the course of the French Revolution, more specifically the Reign of Terror, Jeanne was forced to hatch a plot to secure the remainder of her wealth as she lost a significant portion of her revenue on the night of 4 August 1789. To protect her wealth, Jeanne enlisted Nathaniel Parker Forth, a British spy, to help her plan a fake jewel theft at Louveciennes so that she could remove her economic capital from France while also reducing her total wealth and capital with the intent of reducing her tax payments. As a result of the theft, her jewelry was transported to London, where she would travel four times during the French Revolution on the pretext of recovering her jewelry. This thesis examines her actions while abroad during the Revolution and her culpability in the plot. While traveling to and from London, Jeanne was able to move information, money, and ...
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Creating Community in Isolation: the History of Corpus Christi’s Molina Addition, 1954-1970

Creating Community in Isolation: the History of Corpus Christi’s Molina Addition, 1954-1970

Date: December 2015
Creator: Gurrola, Moisés A.
Description: “Creating Community in Isolation: The History of Corpus Christi’s Molina Addition, 1954-1970” examines the history of the Molina Addition in Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, and its serving district, the West Oso Independent School District, from 1954 to 1970. Specifically, this essay begins with an analysis of the elite-driven campaign to annex the blighted Molina Addition in September and October 1954. The city intended to raze the neighborhood and develop middle-class homes in place of the newly annexed neighborhood. Following the annexation of the Molina Addition, African American and ethnic Mexican residents initiated protracted struggles to desegregate and integrate schools that served their area, the West Oso Independent School District, as detailed in the chapter, “The West Oso School Board Revolution.” The chapter examines the electoral “revolution” in which Anglo rural elites were unseated from their positions on the school board and replaced by African American and ethnic Mexican Molina Addition residents. The third chapter, “Building Mo-Town, Texas,” focuses on residents’ struggle to install indoor plumbing, eliminate pit privies, construct paved roads, and introduce War on Poverty grants to rehabilitate the neighborhood. This chapter also offers a glimpse into the social life of Molina youth during the 1960s.
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Lone Star Insanity: Efforts to Treat the Mentally Ill in Texas, 1861-1929

Lone Star Insanity: Efforts to Treat the Mentally Ill in Texas, 1861-1929

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Date: December 2015
Creator: Boyd, Dalton T.
Description: During the mid-nineteenth century, the citizens of Texas were forced to keep their mentally disturbed family members at home which caused stress on the caregivers and the further debilitation of the afflicted. To remedy this situation, mental health experts and Texas politicians began to create a system of healing known as state asylums. The purpose of this study is to determine how Texas mental health care came into being, the research and theories behind the prevention and treatment programs that asylum physicians employed to overcome mental illness, in addition to the victories and shortcomings of the system. Through this work, it will be shown that during the 1850s until the 1920s institutions faced difficulty in achieving success from many adverse conditions including, but not limited to, overcrowding, large geographical conditions, poor health practices, faulty construction, insufficient funding, ineffective prevention and treatment methods, disorganization, cases of patient abuse, incompetent employees, prejudice, and legal improprieties. As a result, by 1930, these asylums were merely places to detain the mentally ill in order to rid them from society. This thesis will also confirm that while both Texas politicians and mental health experts desired to address and overcome mental illness in Texas, they were ...
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The Forty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment: the Washburne Lead Mine Regiment in the Civil War

The Forty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment: the Washburne Lead Mine Regiment in the Civil War

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Date: December 2015
Creator: Mack, Thomas B.
Description: Of the roughly 3,500 volunteer regiments and batteries organized by the Union army during the American Civil War, only a small fraction has been studied in any scholarly depth. Among those not yet examined by historians was one that typified the western armies commanded by the two greatest Federal generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. The Forty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry was at Fort Donelson and Shiloh with Grant in 1862, with Grant and Sherman during the long Vicksburg campaign of 1862 and 1863, and with Sherman in the Meridian, Atlanta, Savannah, and Carolinas campaigns in the second half of the war. These Illinois men fought in several of the most important engagements in the western theater of the war and, in the spring of 1865, were present when the last important Confederate army in the east surrendered. The Forty-fifth was also well connected in western politics. Its unofficial name was the “Washburne Lead Mine Regiment,” in honor of U.S Representative Elihu B. Washburne, who used his contacts and influences to arm the regiment with the best weapons and equipment available early in the war. (The Lead Mine designation referred to the mining industry in northern Illinois.) In addition, ...
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Fashioning Society in Eighteenth-century British Jamaica

Fashioning Society in Eighteenth-century British Jamaica

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Date: December 2015
Creator: Northrop, Chloe A.
Description: White women who inhabited the West Indies in the eighteenth century fascinated the metropole. In popular prints, novels, and serial publications, these women appeared to stray from “proper” British societal norms. Inhabiting a space dominated by a tropical climate and the presence of a large enslaved African population opened white women to censure. Almost from the moment of colonial encounter, they were perceived not as proper British women but as an imperial “other,” inhabiting a middle space between the ideal woman and the supposed indigenous “savage.” Furthermore, white women seemed to be lacking the sensibility prized in eighteenth-century England. However, the correspondence that survives from white women in Jamaica reveals the language of sensibility. “Creolized” in this imperial landscape, sensibility extended beyond written words to the material objects exchanged during their tenure on these sugar plantations. Although many women who lived in the Caribbean island of Jamaica might have fit the model, extant writings from Ann Brodbelt, Sarah Dwarris, Margaret and Mary Cowper, Lady Maria Nugent, and Ann Appleton Storrow, show a longing to remain connected with metropolitan society and their loved ones separated by the Atlantic. This sensibility and awareness of metropolitan material culture masked a lack of empathy ...
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“Removing the Danger in a Business Way”: the History and Memory of Quakertown, Denton, Texas

“Removing the Danger in a Business Way”: the History and Memory of Quakertown, Denton, Texas

Date: August 2015
Creator: Stallings, Chelsea
Description: Overall this thesis analyzes a strain of the white supremacist vision in Denton, Texas via a case study of a former middle-class black neighborhood. This former community, Quakertown, was removed by white city officials and leaders in the early 1920s and was replaced with a public city park. Nearly a century later, the story of Quakertown is celebrated in Denton and is remembered through many sites of memory such as a museum, various texts, and several city, county, and state historical markers. Both the history and memory of Quakertown reveal levels of dominating white supremacy in Denton, ranging from harmless to violent. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 focus on the history of Quakertown. I begin chapter 2 by examining as many details as possible that reveal the middle-class nature of the black community and its residents. Several of these details show that Quakertown residents not only possessed plentiful material items, but they also had high levels of societal involvement both within their community as well as around Denton. Despite being a self-sufficient and successful community, Quakertown residents were not immune to the culture of racial fear that existed in Denton, which was common to countless towns and communities across the ...
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Establishing the American Way of Death: World War I and the Foundation of the United States’ Policy Toward the Repatriation and Burial of Its Battlefield Dead

Establishing the American Way of Death: World War I and the Foundation of the United States’ Policy Toward the Repatriation and Burial of Its Battlefield Dead

Date: August 2015
Creator: Hatzinger, Kyle J.
Description: This thesis examines the policies and procedures created during and after the First World War that provided the foundation for how the United States commemorated its war dead for the next century. Many of the techniques used in modern times date back to the Great War. However, one hundred years earlier, America possessed very few methods or even ideas about how to locate, identify, repatriate, and honor its military personnel that died during foreign conflicts. These ideas were not conceived in the halls of government buildings. On the contrary, concerned citizens originated many of the concepts later codified by the American government. This paper draws extensively upon archival documents, newspapers, and published primary sources to trace the history of America’s burial and repatriation policies, the Army Graves Registration Services, and how American dead came to permanently rest in military cemeteries on the continent of Europe. The unprecedented dilemma of over 80,000 American soldiers buried in France and surrounding countries at the conclusion of the First World War in 1918 propelled the United States to solve many social, political, and military problems that arose over the final disposition of those remains. The solutions to those problems became the foundation for how ...
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Taking It to the Streets: the History of Gay Pride Parades in Dallas, Texas: 1972-1986

Taking It to the Streets: the History of Gay Pride Parades in Dallas, Texas: 1972-1986

Date: August 2015
Creator: Edelbrock, Kyle
Description: This thesis describes the organization of two waves of pride parades in the city of Dallas, Texas. Using more than 40 sources, this work details how LGBT organizers have used pride parades to create a more established place for the LGBT community in greater Dallas culture. This works adds to the study of LGBT history by focusing on an understudied region, the South; as well as focusing on an important symbolic event in LGBT communities, pride parades.
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The Captain of the People in Renaissance Florence

The Captain of the People in Renaissance Florence

Date: August 2015
Creator: Hamilton, Desirae
Description: The Renaissance Florentine Captain of the People began as a court, which defended the common people or popolo from the magnates and tried crimes such as assault, murder and fraud. This study reveals how factionalism, economic stress and the rise of citizen magistrate courts eroded the jurisdiction and ended the Court of the Captain. The creation of the Captain in 1250 occurred during the external fight for dominance between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope and the struggle between the Guelfs and Ghibellines within the city of Florence. The rise of the Ciompi in 1379, worried the Florentine aristocracy who believed the Ciompi was a threat to their power and they created the Otto di Guardia, a citizen magistrate court. This court began as a way to manage gaps in jurisdiction not covered by the Captain and his fellow rectors. However, by 1433 the Otto eroded the power of the Captain and his fellow rectors. Historians have argued that the Roman law jurists in this period became the tool for the aristocracy but in fact, the citizen magistrate courts acted as a source of power for the aristocracy. In the 1430s, the Albizzi and Medici fought for power. The ...
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Why the Fuse Blew: the Reasons for Colonial America’s Transformation From Proto-nationalists to Revolutionary Patriots: 1772-1775

Why the Fuse Blew: the Reasons for Colonial America’s Transformation From Proto-nationalists to Revolutionary Patriots: 1772-1775

Date: August 2015
Creator: Davis, Camille Marie
Description: The most well-known events and occurrences that caused the American Revolution are well-documented. No scholar debates the importance of matters such as the colonists’ frustration with taxation without representation, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the Coercive Acts. However, very few scholars have paid attention to how the 1772 English court case that freed James Somerset from slavery impacted American Independence. This case occurred during a two-year stall in the conflict between the English government and her colonies that began in 1763. Between 1763 and 1770, there was ongoing conflict between the two parties, but the conflict temporarily subsided in 1770. Two years later, in 1772, the Somerset decision reignited tension and frustration between the mother country and her colonies. This paper does not claim that the Somerset decision was the cause of colonial separation from England. Instead it argues that the Somerset decision played a significant yet rarely discussed role in the colonists’ willingness to begin meeting with one another to discuss their common problem of shared grievance with British governance. It prompted the colonists to begin relating to one another and to the British in a way that they never had previously. This case’s impact on ...
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