Abstract: The History, Function, and Significance of Semaphore Telegraph Towers

I will conduct research on semaphore telegraph tower systems, the technology which was the fastest method of communication in existence from the 1790s until the invention of the electric telegraph and Morse code in the 1830s. The system consisted of lines of towers which crossed the countryside, set at distances so that each could be seen by the next, with arrangements of mechanical shutters or hinged arms on top. An operator manipulated the shutters or arms to spell a message in code, and the operator of the next tower would observe the message, and repeat it for the following tower’s operator to repeat, and so on.

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Abstract: Julia Morgan and the construction of Heart Castle

I am exploring how California architect Julia Morgan’s personal style and experience influenced the construction of Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. By reexamining a thoroughly understood site through a different lens, one that focuses on Morgan and her personal influence rather than on Hearst himself, I will bring new insight to the site and a more holistic understanding of our past. I want to understand how this massive, impressive display of Hearst’s wealth and power is also a physical testament to the legacy of an impressive woman. Morgan’s history of creating spaces for women (like the Berkeley City Women’s Club) may reveal itself in the castle, and may bring to light how her gender influenced Hearst’s commission. I also want to understand how she navigated being the sole woman in many work situations, especially a very powerful one in the specific context of Hearst Castle.

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Missions of All-Girls Schools Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum

The recent opening of Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, the first all-boys public school in Washington DC, sparked significant debate regarding the need to charter an all-girls public high school in DC. Though the DC School Board’s official stance is that an all-girls public high school is not a priority at the time, many groups have challenged the board, citing the success of all-girls preparatory schools in the area. Through my research, I would like to explore the validity and relevance of the evidence that is being cited by both proponents and opponents of the DC School Board’s decision.

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An Analysis of Ottoman Trade and its Effects on the Longevity of the Empire

For my freshman Monroe project, I want to research the trade policies set in place by the Ottoman Empire and how they effected its longevity.  Despite its near six century lifespan, the consensus amongst many historians is that the Ottoman Empire fell into a period of decline after the 16th century C.E.  This coincides with the rise of European powers and the discovery of the New World. Many attribute mercantilism with the rise of the West, as the Ottoman Empire stuck with their traditional policy of provisionism. Trade policies on both fronts evolved over the centuries as mercantilism evolved into capitalism and Ottoman policies became more and more domestically focused. Even with these changes, the power struggle between the West and the Ottoman Empire never again swung in Ottoman favor.  This means the Ottoman Empire was in a constant state of decline for roughly 450 years. The distinction that must be made, though, is that it was in a period of decline relative to the West. The decline was not absolute. Due to this misconception, the commonly asked questions regarding the decline of the Ottoman Empire are why it declined or why the West rose to power.  I want to approach this from a different angle. I want to approach the decline of the Ottoman Empire looking specifically at trade policies, but also with a slightly more optimistic mindset. Why did the Ottoman Empire survive for so long? What effect did its trade policies have on its survival?