Culminating research paper

So as the semester heats up and midterm season grows, I am in the process of working on my culminating essay due April 14.

For Americans who do not know the university semester in Canada started just after new years day and ends mid april.  So we do not get a big winter break but we get over four months off in the summer.

Now on to the project.  Since the course is US from 1877 my usual period of the early republic is out the window.  So I have decided instead to go from 1877 to 1904.  That way it keeps me in the 19th century. 

After flirting with writing about Jews in the old west, and deciding there was a paucity of information.  I have decided to write instead on the end of Polygamy in the church.  Starting basically from the death of Brigham to the Reed Smoot trial, and second manifesto.   Having thought about this a bit I think I am going to focus on the political dynamics rather than the religious ones. 

The main thrust of document will I hope be about the diversion of the country from reconstruction to national unity.   What I think I might be able to successfully argue is that Republican Presidents in the period focused in on the other “relic of Barbarism” as  a way to turn the country away from the Civil War period and its aftermath. 

This of course will probably change after I do more reading, I know little of the period and I am only just now making progress.  Yet I think it will be quite interesting to tackle this subject.

I will log my progress on this, specifically bibliographical information and other details in part because I am also writing an essay about the research itself for another class.

Should be interesting I hope.  Oh and if David G. or anyone else has suggested material on the historography of the period I would be interested in checking those out.  However, as an undergrad student I cannot interlibrary loan things from the USA so if it is not in Canada I cannot get it.

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2 Responses to Culminating research paper

  1. David G. says:

    If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you look at Ed Blum’s fantastic Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005). It would really provide an excellent framework for your argument. I think that you’re right that the Republicans are looking to unite the country after the war, and Blum argues that homogenizing the West was a key way of doing that. It might be good to situate your argument a bit wider, and mention that the 1880s saw not only the reconstruction of the Mormons, but also the Dawes Act of 1887 (which dissovled all Native American reservations) and the Chinese Exlusion Act of 1882 (which stopped Chinese immigration). The Mormons were but one group in the West that was being targeted by the Republicans for conformity and Americanization (in the case of the Chinese, they weren’t even allowed to be Americans).

  2. Jon W says:

    Interesting stuff David I will have to look further into that suggestion.

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