Search Google Appliance

Young Historians Conference 2013 Abstracts


23rd Annual Young Historians Conference 
May 2, 2013





Historical Challenges to National Unities

Commentator: Professor Linda Walton



"Abraham Lincoln: Preserving the Union"

This paper explores Abraham Lincoln as a revolutionary figure, willing to exploit the calamities of war to effect permanent social change.  Fighting for the Union and the government that the founding fathers had created, Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, steered the nation through the Civil War, expanded the influence of the federal government, and advanced the definition of freedom through the Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment.  Lincoln the revolutionary, suspended habeas corpus, closed southern ports, granted favors and commuted executions, and otherwise used the office of President to transform the national identity.  Lincoln was not only influential during his time but his legacy continues to affect our social and political life today in the United States.

Leah Martin, Grant High School



"Canada and the Great War: In What Ways Did World War I Affect Canadian Unity?"

Abstract not available.


Maren Hanson, Sunset High School



"The Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia"

In the last century, one nation achieved an incredible rise to power and devastating collapse in the span of mere decades. Yugoslavia—a now nonexistent country—flourished under the influential leadership of Josip Broz Tito.  Elected President in 1953, Tito went on to rule over Yugoslavia until his death in 1980.  How was Tito able to unite a region consisting of six national republics and two autonomous regions into one communist entity?  The answer lies in Tito’s policy of “polycentrism”; however, upon his death, the policy collapsed due to the ineffective leadership of the collective presidency, economic troubles, and ethno-religious unrest, resulting in the country’s disintegration.

Olivia Hinerfeld, St. Mary’s Academy



Media and Propaganda

Commentator: Professor David A. Horowitz



"The Mask Behind the Man"

Since the time of the Ancient Greeks, western theatre has always found a use for masks in its performances, yet it was not just their functionality that made them a cornerstone of early drama. The real importance did not come from what masks could physically show, but from what they could represent for the cultures that used them. This paper looks back as far as the playwright Thespis and explores how Greek beliefs on identity, glory, and hubris shaped the meaning of masks, and looks at the implications of these ancient thoughts on the world of theatre today.

Alex Whitehead, Clackamas High School



"How Did the Use of Propaganda Affect the Development of Nazi Germany as a Single-Party State"

Abstract not available.


Lindsey Schiager, Sunset High School



"Hardcore Punk for a Hardcore President: The Action and Response to Ronald Reagan"

President Ronald Reagan has been both highly revered and despised by different groups of Americans. In order to find an accurate view of what life was really like under the Reagan presidency, this study views Reagan through the exciting and gritty lens of the Punk movement, specifically in Southern California. Through research of lyrics, a personal interview, and writers of the Punk era, the voice and feelings, personality and purpose of a great amount of people reveal the true opposition to the effects the Reagan Administration had on the Nation.

Julian Heninger, Lakeridge High School



 “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics, the PMRC and Music Censorship in America: 1980-1989” 

The paper talks about music censorship in the 1980s, specifically the PMRC hearings in 1985. The paper looks at the anti-Rock movement of the 1980s and the Parents Music Resource Center, an organization that wanted warning labels placed on albums. The paper examines the motives of the PMRC and opposition to their proposals from famous musicians. The thesis of the paper is that the PMRC’s proposals were adopted by the RIAA because the RIAA wanted to get a tax on cassettes passed and the negative publicity over explicit music was hurting their efforts to get the tax passed.


Nate Belcik, Lakeridge High School



To Intervene…or Not?
U.S. Foreign Policy in the Twentieth Century
Commentator: Professor David Johnson  



"Labor Issues During the Construction of the Panama Canal"

The Panama Canal represented America’s first great achievement on the international stage. But in its triumph, the United States showed itself willing to pursue success on the backs of the laborers—most of them black—without whom the canal could not have become a reality. This paper focuses on these men—men who braved dangerous conditions and the institutionalized segregation of the Canal Zone despite America’s reluctance to confront the issue of racism over a group of non-citizen, non-white laborers hundreds of miles removed from any American city or shore.


Paul Diebold, Lakeridge High School



"What was the United States’ Response to the Armenian Genocide?"

Abstract not available.


Alex Fleming, Sunset High School



“Fear and Loathing in Indochina: An Analysis of the American Refusal to Sign the Geneva Accords, 1954”


At the 1954 Geneva Conference, five standing world powers attempted to come to a resolution on the ongoing violence in Indochina—a military conflict in small, economically-insignificant nations including Vietnam which ultimately became a microcosm for the political and military divide between communism and capitalism around the world. In this paper, I argue that the refusal of the United States' delegation to sign the conference's accords signals a fundamental shift towards radicalism in American policy and ultimately foreshadows their defeat during the Vietnam War.

Evangeline Heath, Lakeridge High School




Striving for Security in an Insecure World

 Commentator: Professor Chia Yin Hsu



 “Friend of the People, Enemy to the Cause: Jean Paul Marat, Charlotte Corday, and the Consolidation of Jacobin Power in Revolutionary France”  

During the volatile period, 1789 to 1795, many of the concepts that made up the backbone of the French Identity were challenged.  While thousands of enraged French subjects protested, groups of impassioned revolutionaries met the call for change. Although these groups shared the common goal of liberty for the French people, they differed greatly in their visions for the hazy future of France.  By the end of 1792, two competing schools of thought would emerge as the primary political parties of the new state: a sect of zealous radicals, known as the Jacobins, and a sect of moderate radicals, known as the Girondin.  Though almost congruous at the outset of the Revolution, these two political factions quickly divided and solidified into the two primary political opponents of the New Age.  This paper investigates how the totality of this conflict culminated in young Girondist Charlotte Corday’s assassination of prominent revolutionary writer and Jacobin supporter, Jean-Paul Marat.

Claire Martin, St. Mary’s Academy



 Abbie Hoffman and the 1968 Festival of Life: A Study of the Yippie Counter-Culture and its Effects on Contemporary American Politics

As the 1968 democratic convention came to Chicago, so did the social turbulence that surrounded the election. Democrats from across the country fought for their candidate just blocks away from scenes of some of the worst police brutality in Chicago’s history. Reporters of the conventions and riots alike were swept into the violence and caught the atrocities committed by both sides on camera as primarily young social activists from across the country fought for their beliefs. As the decorum in the convention center faded, the line separating the violence outside and the fighting inside greyed to a point of eerie parallelism. This paper focuses on the role these riots had on shaping not only the democratic convention, but also the entire election and in effect the course of American Politics. 


Matthew White, Lakeridge High School



“Situation Twenty-One”

When Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games on April 6, 1896, he not only established a tradition of athletic competition, but put forth an enduring goal of international unity and global peace. Rooted in the values of sportsmanship and respect, the Olympics have matured into a global showcase. The Games are no longer a simply an athletic competition, but a universal stage where nations from across the globe display their progress and forward-thinking. Under a worldwide watchful eye, the hosting country faces a particularly difficult challenge- the manner in which they handle the inevitable obstacles is under strict scrutiny from a multitude of nations. Sometimes, they crumble under the pressure. In the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Adolf Hitler manipulated the world stage to promote Nazism. Severely condemned by their national counterparts, Germany was eager to regain hosting privileges and redeem their tarnished reputation. Thus, when the opportunity presented itself in 1972 with the Munich Olympics, the Munich Organizational Committee stopped at nothing to put on what they deemed, “the Happy Games.” Curbing security measures that conflicted with their idealistic view, the Committee, led by Avery Brundage, blatantly ignored the opportunities for terrorism presented to them by analyst Georg Sieber. This essay explores the causes and consequences of what has come to been known as the “Munich Massacre.”


Annamarie White, St. Mary’s Academy



Senator Dodd Versus the National Rifle Association: Passing the Gun Control Act of 1968

After the assassination of President Kennedy, Senator Dodd sought to pass gun control legislation.  The National Rifle Association took the forefront on the debate against Dodd and became more politically active as an organization.  After long debate, news coverage, and blame on both sides, the assassinations of two political figures MLK and Robert Kennedy spurred Dodd’s Bill into passing, but only after amendments lessening its original effect.  The Gun Control Act of 1968 formed the basis of the modern, polarizing gun control debate and reflects the process of passing gun control legislation today.


Bennett D. Sorensen, Lakeridge High School



Betting the House:
Economies between War and Misadventure

 Commentator: Professor Brian Turner



“Corinth as a Catalyst Before and During the Peloponnesian War”

This paper discusses Corinth’s role in both directly persuading and indirectly maneuvering Sparta to declare war on Athens. Fashioning such a plan required Corinth to convert Sparta from an outright isolationist to a reluctant ally. Yet, as one of the lone third-party states in Greece, Corinth needed to single-handedly persuade a much larger and more important city-state. Although most scholarship tends to focus on the two major city-states, this paper suggests that third-party states like Corinth may have had a much greater role than previously thought in shaping the course of the Peloponnesian War. As the key player in forcing Sparta to declare war, Corinth steered the considerably more powerful Sparta to war not once, but twice—a testament to their truly conniving diplomatic gambit.

Kevin Rhine, Clackamas High School



“John Law’s Flawed but Well Intended Système”

Of the world’s many economic meltdowns spurred by desperation, overconfident leaders with too much power, and a lack of experience or transparency, the Mississippi Bubble was one of the first that wiped out an entire economy. This paper explores how the decisions of John Law, a Scottish financier, economist, and compulsive gambler, led to the so-called Mississippi Bubble. A phenomenon which contributed to the drastic rise and fall of individuals’ finances, hyperinflation, the devaluation of France’s currency during the regency of Philippe d'Orléans.

Katy Baker
, St. Mary’s Academy



“How Did WWII Pull the United States Out of Economic Stagnation?”

Abstract not available.


Chris Constans, Sunset High School


Lessons and Warnings in History

 Commentator: Professor Richard Beyler