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A History of the Mississippi River Commission, 1879-1928: from Levees-Only to a Comprehensive Program of Flood Control for the Lower Mississippi Valley

Description: In 1879 Congress created the Mississippi River Commission (MRC) to develop and coordinate federal flood control policy for the Lower Mississippi River. Through 1927, that Commission clung stubbornly to a "levees-only" policy that was based on the mistaken belief that levees alone could be effective in controlling the flood waters of the Mississippi River. When the levees failed--and they occasionally did--the MRC responded by raising and strengthening the system but refused to adopt a more comprehensive program, one which would include outlets and reservoirs. Finally, a disastrous flood in 1927 forced the abandonment of levees-only and the adoption of a comprehensive plan for the Lower Mississippi River. Predictably, the MRC faced heavy criticism following the failure of its highly-touted levee system in 1927. While certainly the Commission was culpable, there was plenty of fault to go around and a plethora of mitigating circumstances. Developing a plan for achieving adequate flood control along the lower Mississippi River constituted what was probably the most difficult and complex engineering problem ever undertaken by the U. S. Government. Additionally, there were innumerable political and financial constraints that worked to shape MRC policy. This study will endeavor to tell the story of the MRC from its earliest origins through the landmark 1928 Flood Control Act, and, in the process, give evidence to the reality that the Commission did not function independently. As an organization, it relied upon outside forces for its membership, for its jurisdiction, and for the appropriations necessary to carry out its policies. Significantly, these forces were politically driven and did not always, or even often, share the MRC's priorities for the Lower Mississippi River. Even so, the MRC accomplished a great deal in its efforts to protect the Valley from moderate floods, to improve the navigability of the Mississippi River, and to ...
Date: August 1996
Creator: Pearcy, Matthew Todd, 1967-

Medgar Evers (1925-1963) and the Mississippi Press

Description: Medgar Evers was gunned down in front of his home in June 1963, a murder that went unpunished for almost thirty years. Assassinated at the height of the civil rights movement, Evers is a relatively untreated figure in either popular or academic writing. This dissertation includes three themes. Evers's death defined his life, particularly his public role. The other two themes define his relationship with the press in Mississippi (and its structure), and his relationship to the various civil rights organizations, including his employer, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Was the newspaper press, both state and national, fair in its treatment of Evers? Did the press use Evers to further the civil rights agenda or to retard that movement, and was Evers able to employ the press as a public relations tool in promoting the NAACP agenda? The obvious answers have been that the Mississippi press editors and publishers defended segregation and that Evers played a minor role in the civil rights movement. Most newspaper publishers and editorial writers slanted the news to promote segregation but not all newspapers editors. The Carters of Greenville, J. Oliver Emmerich of McComb and weekly editors Ira Harkey and Hazel Brannon Smith denounced the segregationist groups. Evers, too, is not easily defined. His life's work produced few results but his mere presence in the most racist state in the country provided other civil rights organizers with an example of personal strength and fortitude unmatched in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The dissertation reviewed the existing primary and secondary source material, and included personal interviews with primary participants in the Jackson boycotts of 1963. Evers compares with Abraham Lincoln in that both received little credit for their accomplishments until more than thirty years after their assassinations. Both represented the democratic ...
Date: December 1996
Creator: Tisdale, John Rochelle, 1958-

A Study of the Anti-Catholic Bias Contained Within Jacob Burckhardt's The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

Description: This work examines the anti-Catholic bias of Jacob Burckhardt as he employed it in the Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. A biographical chapter examines his early education in the Lutheran seminary and the influence of his educators at the University of Berlin. The Civilization is examined in three critical areas: Burckhardt's treatment of the popes in his chapter "The State as a Work of Art," the reform tendencies of the Italian humanists which Burckhardt virtually ignored, and the rise of confraternities in Italy. In each instance, Burckhardt demonstrated a clear bias against the Catholic Church. Further study could reveal if this initial bias was perpetuated through later "Burckhardtian" historians.
Date: May 1996
Creator: Kistner, Michael P. (Michael Patrick)

The Persistence of Castilian Law in Frontier Texas: the Legal Status of Women

Description: Castilian law developed during the Reconquest of Spain. Women received certain legal rights to persuade them to move to the villages on the expanding frontier. These legal rights were codified in Las Siete Partidas, the monumental work of Castilian law, compiled in the thirteenth century. Under Queen Isabella, Castilian law became the law of all Spain. As Spain discovered, explored, and colonized the New World, Castilian law spread. The Recopilacidn de Los Leyes de Las Indias complied the laws for all the colonies. Texas, as the last area in North America settled by Spain, retained Castilian law. Case law from the Bexar Archives proves this for the Villa of San Fernando(present-day San Antonio). Castilian laws and customs persisted even on the Texas frontier.
Date: May 1996
Creator: Stuntz, Jean A.

Marine Defense Battalions, October 1939 - December 1942: their Contributions in the Early Phases of World War II

Description: This thesis explores the activities of the U.S. Marine defense battalions from October 1939 to December 1942. More specifically, it explains why Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) decided to continue the defense battalions as separate entities when, by mid-1943, it needed additional men to replace its combat losses and to create new divisions. In this process HQMC disbanded other special units, such as the raider battalions, parachute battalions, barrage balloon squadrons, and the glider squadrons. It retained, however, the defense battalions because of their versatility and utility as demonstrated during the various operations they conducted in Iceland and the Central and South Pacific. In these locations defense battalions performed as: (a) island garrisons, (b) antiaircraft artillery units, and (c) landing forces. Their success in carrying out these missions led to their retention as separate entities throughout World War II.
Date: December 1996
Creator: Maynard, Stephen Ronald

The Political and Congressional Career of John Hancock, 1865-1885

Description: John Hancock was a Texas Unionist. After the Civil War, he became an opponent of the Radical Republicans. He was elected to Congress in 1871 and had some success working on issues important to Texas. As the state was redeemed from Radical Republican rule, Hancock was increasingly attacked for his Unionism. This led to a tough fight for renomination in 1874, and losses in races for the U.S. Senate and renomination in 1876. He was an unsuccessful congressional candidate in 1878, but was elected again in 1882. By then his political influence had waned and he did not seek renomination in 1884. Hancock had the potential to be a major political leader, but lingering resentment to his Unionism hampered his political career.
Date: May 1996
Creator: Hancock, W. Daniel

Gerhart Hauptmann: Germany throught the Eyes of the Artist

Description: Born in 1862, Gerhart Hauptmann witnessed the creation of the German Empire, the Great War, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, and World War II before his death in 1946. Through his works as Germany's premier playwright, Hauptmann traces and exemplifies Germany's social, cultural, and political history during the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, and comments on the social and political climate of each era. Hauptmann wrote more than forty plays, twenty novels, hundreds of poems, and numerous journal articles that reveal his ideas on politics and society. His ideas are reinforced in the hundreds of unpublished volumes of his diary and his copious letters preserved in the Prussian Staatsbibliothek, Berlin. In the 1960s, Germans celebrated Hauptmann's centenary as authors who had known or admired Hauptmann published biographies that chronicled his life but revealed little of his private thoughts. This dissertation examines Hauptmann's life from his early childhood through his adult life with emphasis on social and political commentaries found in his works, diaries, and letters. Hauptmann told of the social problems alcohol and greed created and used historical events to express his concern about Germany's labor and social conditions. He also used historical events to address the political problems that plagued Germans and their government. Even his fairytale, Hannele criticized the Volk's rejection of his view of German nationalism and unity. In all his works, Hauptmann challenged the Volk to find strength within their own souls and to reject the materialism of the modern world. Hauptmann's published and unpublished works reveal a man who found comfort and strength in the Volk and völkisch Kultur. He yearned for a united German Kultur and shaped his politics and commentaries to achieve unity. This dissertation examines Hauptmann's vision of German unity which winds its way throughout his works, an idea overlooked in other ...
Date: December 1996
Creator: Igo, William Scott

André Malraux: the Anticolonial and Antifascist Years

Description: This dissertation provides an explanation of how André Malraux, a man of great influence on twentieth century European culture, developed his political ideology, first as an anticolonial social reformer in the 1920s, then as an antifascist militant in the 1930s. Almost all of the previous studies of Malraux have focused on his literary life, and most of them are rife with errors. This dissertation focuses on the facts of his life, rather than on a fanciful recreation from his fiction. The major sources consulted are government documents, such as police reports and dispatches, the newspapers that Malraux founded with Paul Monin, other Indochinese and Parisian newspapers, and Malraux's speeches and interviews. Other sources include the memoirs of Clara Malraux, as well as other memoirs and reminiscences from people who knew Andre Malraux during the 1920s and the 1930s. The dissertation begins with a survey of Malraux's early years, followed by a detailed account of his experiences in Indochina. Then there is a survey of the period from 1926 to 1933, when Malraux won renown as a novelist and as a man with special insight into Asian affairs. The dissertation then focuses on Malraux's career as a militant antifascist during the 1930s, including an analysis of Malraux's organization of an air squadron for the Spanish Republic, and his trip to North America to raise funds. The dissertation concludes with an analysis of Malraux's evolution from an apolitical, virtually unknown writer into a committed anticolonial social reformer and an antifascist militant. The man and his political ideology were intricately interwoven. His brief career as a political journalist in Saigon was crucial in his transformation from an apolitical Parisian dandy into a political activist. Because he regarded fascism as a dire threat to European civilization, Malraux gave his full support to the Soviet ...
Date: May 1996
Creator: Cruz, Richard A. (Richard Alan)

Beyond the Merchants of Death: the Senate Munitions Inquiry of the 1930s and its Role in Twentieth-Century American History

Description: The Senate Munitions Committee of 1934-1936, chaired by Gerald Nye of North Dakota, provided the first critical examination of America's modern military establishment. The committee approached its task guided by the optimism of the progressive Social Gospel and the idealism of earlier times, but in the middle of the munitions inquiry the nation turned to new values represented in Reinhold Niebuhr's realism and Franklin D. Roosevelt's Second New Deal. By 1936, the committee found its views out of place in a nation pursuing a new course and in a world threatening to break out in war. Realist historians writing in the cold war period (1945-1990) closely linked the munitions inquiry to isolationism and created a one-dimensional history in which the committee chased evil "merchants of death." The only book-length study of the munitions investigation, John Wiltz's In Search of Peace, published in 1963, provided a realist interpretation. The munitions inquiry went beyond the merchants of death in its analysis of the post-World War I American military establishment. A better understanding emerges when the investigation is considered not only within an isolationist framework, but also as part of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of the interwar years. In particular, Franklin Roosevelt's political use of the investigation becomes apparent. Sources used include the committee's hearings, exhibits, and reports, the Gerald Nye Papers, the Franklin Roosevelt Papers, the Cordell Hull Papers, the R. Walton Moore Papers, the Henry Stimson Papers, the Homer Cummings Diaries, and the State Department's decimal files.
Date: May 1996
Creator: Coulter, Matthew Ware