Undergraduate Papers

Below you will find a list of the papers I wrote for my undergraduate studies at Taylor University where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2011, graduating summa cum laude. I will be adding papers as I have time; this is a work in progress.

Paper Title Class Year
The Trinity Test: Testimony Against Atomic Ignorance
Thesis: The United States military had full knowledge of the destructive and radioactive power of the nuclear device before they used it on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945).  The explosion of Trinity was extensively documented and tested in every possible way, so the military knew exactly what it was capable of before they dropped it (the only exception to this was the long-term radiation effects they would not have known about).
Intro to History Spring 2008
The Gothic Cathedral as a Product of the Religious Medieval Mind
Topic: Based on Robert Scott’s book, The Gothic Enterprise: A Guide to Understanding the Medieval Cathedral, this paper is a cross between an extended book review and a research paper. I evaluate the book and put forth my own analysis of the role the Gothic Cathedral played in the medieval world.
Medieval Europe Spring 2009
The Papal-Frankish Alliance
Topic: In medieval Europe, the church and state were often fused: the church was the state as various regional kings took the title of “Holy Roman Emperor” (from Charlemagne to Otto I). Various Germanic states often looked to the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope to validate their rule to the millions of peasants who were faithful believers, and the Papacy needed the military protection of one or more secular kingdoms. The dynamic relationship between the church and state in Europe during the Middle Ages was at times amicable, often testy, and sometimes downright hostile.
Medieval Europe Spring 2009
The Religious Beliefs of Thomas Paine
Abstract: In order to understand the significance of Thomas Paine’s political and social writings that contributed to American independence and republican principles, it is necessary to know his personal and religious beliefs as these molded his worldview. Raised by a Quaker father and Anglican mother, sectarian and orthodox Christianity were the primary religious influences during his early years. However, in his early twenties, Paine was taught Newtonian science which became the overriding influence in shaping his religious beliefs. Despite the early influence of his father’s Quakerism, Paine was predominantly a child of the Enlightenment and his religious beliefs were interpreted through natural laws and reason, leading him to Deism. However, determining his exact religious beliefs as they developed is difficult to pinpoint, especially whether he believed the Bible. By examining his famous 1776 pamphlet, Common Sense, it is possible to conclude that Paine was a theistic Deist who believed in a beneficent Creator who was involved in human affairs. Paine adhered to certain parts of Scripture, especially those that proved his political arguments, but he never made a positive statement of his doctrinal beliefs at this time. It was not until 1793, when Paine penned The Age of Reason, that he revealed his theological convictions in which he unquestionably condemned Christianity and atheism alike as false beliefs and promoted Deism as the only true religion. The change in his religious tone from 1776 to 1795 can best be understood as a personal reaction to the libertarian failures of the French Revolution.
Colonial America Fall 2009
Dred Scott vs. Sandford
Topic: This paper explores the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford Supreme Court case, including a critical analysis of related Constitutional and slavery issues. This case was important as it ruled that Scott was not a legal citizen of the United States, denying him the ability to sue in court. In addition, it struck down the Missouri Compromise of 1820 as being unconstitutional. This case also had a key bearing on the settlement of the western territories and the fight over whether they would be slave or free. This was a major factor that pushed the nation toward civil war in the decades leading up to 1860.
Civil War Era J-term 2010
A Biblical & Historical Interpretation of the Civil War
Topic: The Civil War was the most defining period in American history. Knowing what happened before and during the war is quite accessible, but understanding why it happened and the consequences is more complicated. In this paper I set out some interpretive principles for understanding the American Civil War from a Christian perspective. Note: since 2010 I have changed many of my theological stances, so certain statements in this paper no longer accurately represent my beliefs.
Civil War Era J-term 2010
The Development of Saudi Arabia’s Oil Economy
Topic: This paper traces the history and development of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry that transformed the country from a backward, poverty-stricken, and forgotten nation, into a powerful, modern, and independent state with considerable international leverage. Oil is a major business and commodity in our world today and it is extremely important to nations who sit atop vast oil reserves (Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, etc).  We should not underestimate the power and money oil can bring and the political, economic, and social reform it can catalyze.
Modern Middle East Spring 2010
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