The Student Honors Papers collection represents exemplary work in history at Illinois Wesleyan University. The Ames Library is proud to archive these and other honors projects in Digital Commons @ IWU, the University's online archive of student, faculty and staff scholarship and creative activity.
National Identity, Historical Narratives, and the Fate of Poland in World War II
by Ziven K. Chinburg
This paper explores the fate of Poland during, and immediately after, the Second World War and examines the question of Western betrayal of Poland. This paper looks into why some Poles felt, and continue to feel, a sense of betrayal by their allies during the war. The main focus of this paper is how the Poles came to understand their fate and position in the world during and after World War Two. The thesis of this paper is that Poles define their national narrative in the modern era as glorious victimhood and that this definition of glorious victimhood is how Poles understood their situation during and after World War Two. In pursing this aforementioned thesis, the paper presents sub-narratives of victimhood, martyrdom, and betrayal in the history of Poland from the First Partition of Poland (1772) to the imposition of communist rule following World War Two (1948). The Warsaw Uprising (August-October 1944) provides a case study for the Polish experience of World War Two and the narrative of glorious victimhood. This case study focuses on the degree of Allied support and intervention, along with the failures of the Polish Government-in-Exile and the Polish Home Army during the Warsaw Uprising.
Conflicting Perspectives: Chivalry in Twelfth-Century Historiography
by Stephanie L. Carlson
Conflicting Perspectives: Chivalry in Twelfth-Century Historiography Chivalry was the dominant social structure of the Middle Ages. Its tenets were limited to the ruling class, but it affected all members of medieval society. Despite its overwhelming prevalence, a definition of chivalry has eluded most historians. Twelfth-century sources range from histories and chronicles of events, to epic poetry based on facts but depicting idealized or demonized characters, to manuals of knightly behavior. Modem perceptions of chivalry are shaped by which sources historians choose to include in their analyses; modem historians get most of their arguments from medieval literature and texts that are dedicated specifically to chivalry. While these sources are beneficial and offer their own details about medieval chivalry, a vital source is unfortunately left out of scholarly discussion. A comparative analysis of twelfth-century histories offers a more thorough understanding of the conflicting elements and ideas that made up medieval chivalry; they also show how, while ubiquitous, not everyone practiced or interpreted chivalry in the same way. Twelfth-century histories do this very well, but are often ignored by modem historians in favor of more glamorous sources.
Defying the United States: General Douglas MacArthur
by Luke G. Mueller
General Douglas MacArthur continually disobeyed his superiors officers throughout his entire career, yet he never received any punishment. He eventually became one of the most decorated U.S. soldiers and rose to the rank of General by the time his career was over. However, as his career progressed, his defiance increased. It was not until President Harry S. Truman relieved him of command during the Korean War that MacArthur received any kind of reprimand. Because of this, MacArthur threatened not only U.S. security and democracy, but also world peace.
In the twentieth century, two designers stood out as radicals: Josef Hoffmann of Vienna and Charles Rennie Mackintosh of Glasgow. Both of these designers rejected the design aesthetics of the Revival and Beaux Arts styles of architecture and decorative arts, which they found to be outdated and moribund. Due to their mutual hatred of this repetitive historicism in art, Hoffmann and Mackintosh explored new ways of creating decorative arts and architecture. Both men visited and corresponded with each other, creating not only a professional friendship but also a shared language of design aesthetics. Mackintosh and Hoffmann drew on each other's designs and philosophies, establishing an exchange of ideas and new design ideals between the Scottish Arts and Crafts movement and the Wiener Werkstiitte.
This paper explores the friendship between two great literary minds of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Their close friendship helped to support their artistic lives and was responsible for several collaborations. The last project they worked on was the play Mule Bone. In January of 1931, the play became the wedge that divided the two. This paper will give background information on the lives of both authors and utilize the historical context of the Harlem Renaissance in order to explain how the themes of gender, power, and race helped to cause this break.
This paper discusses the difficulties of finding a single, common "American" sociocultural identity in the colonies before the Revolution. By looking at the use of words like "Americans" or "British subjects" to describe the colonists in colonial newspapers, I determine that neither colonial nor British writers had a cohesive idea of the American colonists as a single, distinct group with a unique identity.
This paper attempts to explore the historical origins of the “totalistic iconoclasm” that was characteristic of Chinese intellectual history in the twentieth century. By examining Wei Yuan’s historical writings, the paper argues that the conceptual connection between the civilization of the majority Han ethnicity (“the Chinese tradition”) and the idea of a political entity of China had already broken down by mid-nineteenth century. The Qing Empire’s political adoption and control of Confucianism suffocated its intellectual creativity and thus Confucianism only existed as custom and in form. As an intellectual reaction to these political manipulations, the essentialist thoughts of the late Ming gradually gave way to the pragmatist thoughts of late Qing. This separation of cultural and political entities in the minds of the Chinese intellectual elite as a response to the Qing Empire’s manipulation of Confucianism set up the condition for the total cultural iconoclasm in twentieth century China.
Searching for the underlying reality in the "land of opportunity," especially in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, has become one of the most significant and rapidly developing areas of American historical research. The myth of America as a place where the ambitious man was free to make his fortune through hard work and enterprise has been enduring, albeit little subject to scrutiny . The possibility of social and economic advancement for all men is central to a society styling itself as liberal, democratic, and capitalistic. In the early years of the twentieth century, this possibility was firmly held in the popular imagination. America is a nation of immigrants , drawn by the possibility of a better life. Free men laboring in a free economy, released from the class discriminations of the Old World , made the "land of opportunity" what it was. The popular evangelists of ready wealth, from Horatio Alger to Samuel Smiles preached this social gospel; the lives of the Carnegies and Rockefellers bore its witness. But aside from the great men , what could ordinary laborers expect as
" Co. B are all Old Abes Boys, "wrote Frank Crowell about the 1864 election. Frank and his comrades were also Lincoln's boys in another sense.They were the soldiers who enforced Lincoln' s authority. This is a study of the enlisted men who served in the Illinois infantry regiments during the Civil War. The boys were the ones who faced the Confederates on the field of battle. Without them, all the speeches Lincoln ever made would be meaningless. This study attempts to explain how the boys lived and ate,marched and fought, and died. It also looks at their opinions on the important subjects of the issues involved in the war, their leaders, their enemies and themselves. This is not a study of nameless masses, though. The boys I use as sources have names and personalities. They were all boys, too, regardless of age. Day Elmore told his brother and sister about an informal association of soldiers, called a "mess," to which he belonged . " [T]here is 10 of the best boys in our mess I Ever got in with, thay are not all boys. [T]hare is one 40 years of age • • • and Another 35.
Consequently, I refer to the enlisted men as "the boys" throughout the paper.
Church Trials in a Changing Society
by Robert H. Williams
The study of all aspects of the American frontier still continues, with new and sometimes divergent materials appearing year after year. Religion and morality have received a share of this interest. Dr. William Warren Sweet was a substantial contributor to this literature, particularly with his collections of source materials, under the general heading of Religion on the American Frontier.