A private comprehensive liberal arts college in Salt Lake City, UT, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in liberal arts and professional programs. Website
2006 History Abstracts

2006 Research Fair Archive - History Abstracts

The Grand Alliance: Politics through Friendship
by Amy Yag  (Faculty Sponsor:  Susan Cottler)

The Yalta Conference of 1945 was responsible for shaping many aspects of the post war world. The three main players of the Yalta Conference were President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin. The three men, who represented the interests of the main Allied powers, negotiated for just under a week in the Crimean Sea.

Throughout World War II Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin spent a great deal of time working together and getting to know one another. While they are often referred to as strange bedfellows, the three men were able to come to an agreement through their work. Respect, understanding, and friendship helped to form a bond between them. They understood each others needs, and worked together to accomplish their goals. After careful examination, one can see that the politics of the Yalta agreement reflect the relationships between the three leaders.

Desegregating an Integrated School System: Salt Lake City 
by Marci Joy Muhlestein  (Faculty Sponsor:  Susan Cottler)

The 1954 famous court case of Brown v. Board of Education forced Americans to look at segregation and racism in public schools. With a relatively small Black population, Black children always attended school with Whites in Salt Lake City. How and when did Utah respond to Brown? What was Salt Lake City’s initial reaction, interpretation, and eventual execution? In order to answer these questions, different groups of the community and their various responses must be examined. This thesis focuses on the Salt Lake County public school system under Superintendents Dr. M. Lynn Bennion and Dr. Arthur C. Wiscombe, Black students K-12, and community. Although each had different goals and responses, the three were inevitably intertwined, affecting each other tremendously. Also examined are influences of existing restrictive covenants, the flight to suburbia, Sputnik, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

German-Americans in Utah During World War II
by Alison Poulson  (Faculty Sponsor:  Susan Cottler)

During World War II, anti-German sentiment revived in America. Rumors of a Fifth Column of supporters of the Third Reich swept the country. German-Americans faced discrimination from the government and their communities.

By 1941 German-Americans were the third-largest group of Utah's foreign born citizens. Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints converted many in Germany and urged them to move to Utah. Religion unified these immigrants and their neighbors, helping the German-Americans assimilate. Such unique aspects of Utah’s history affected German-American Utahns' experience in the World Wars.

This paper examines how the communities in Utah treated the German-Americans in their midst during World War II. To what extent did they face discrimination? What factors influenced prejudice? The investigation covers the varied personal experiences of German-Americans who lived in Utah during the war through oral histories.

Student Power:
The Rise and Fall of the Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s
by Christopher Wharton  (Faculty Sponsor:  Susan Cottler)

The nostalgia of the 1960s is often defined by social conflict and political activism. This is particularly true with respect to student activism and the cultivation of youth identity and counterculture. Though much of the romance and idealism that characterized a generation of young “new-lefters” eventually proved to be short-lived, activist youth organizations had an undeniable impact upon the nation it was destined to inherit

One of the most infamous of these organizations, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), emerged into the arena of national politics in the early 1960s. In its short existence, SDS experienced nation-wide popularity as it paralleled the lives of many of its members by declaring independence from all parent organizations and jumping into a world of rebellion. With the creation of the Port Huron Statement in 1962, SDS members established a manifesto that articulated the nervous energy of a generation unsatisfied with the present and uneasy about the future. Yet ultimately, the organization faded away almost as quickly as it had emerged only a few years prior, leaving many of its fundamental aspirations unfulfilled. How could such an enthusiastic and widely supported organization disintegrate just when it was needed most?

Some research suggests that SDS was replaced by more radical and militant groups such as the Weather Underground. Alternative theories point to an underdeveloped, grass roots infrastructure that could not sustain a united organization spread across the country. However, the most convincing theories indicate a series of factors that combine conflicting interests of different factions of the organization with internal strife and ineffectiveness. Regardless of an inability to identify one single explanation of the collapse, questions regarding the total disappearance of the organization and the subsequent betrayal of all of the ideals it sought to promote remain unexplained.

The thesis will investigate this phenomenon with a review of the formation and evolution of the Students for a Democratic Society, followed by a specific focus on its decline and collapse. The dispersal of the founders of the organization, the formation of subsequent groups, and changing political attitudes of former members will also be explored.