With coronavirus causing the entire world to go into quarantine and social distancing, my summer has definitely been very monotonous. My days usually consist of waking up late, eating some food, binge-watching Criminal Minds and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and going to bed late. On rare occasions, I will be able to see one of my friends within the regulations of my state. Throughout this summer, however, I have been able to dive into the world of late 19th-century Georgian politics through research in the History department. I talked about how I found this particular research project in a previous blog post here, but I never got to go in-depth into the research I've been doing so far!
My research is looking at the politics following the Civil War, specifically in the State of Georgia. I am looking at the 1882 election for Governor between Alexander Stephens and Lucius Gartrell, both Generals in the Confederate Army. Stephens--a Democrat--eventually won the governorship over Gartrell--the "sort of" Republican nominee--in a year-long race that had many controversies. One of these had to do with the discovery of a court case with Gartrell in which he tried to keep his fathers-in-law's slaves in his possession.
To find all of these stories while in quarantine, I am going through a database of Georgian newspapers to find articles related to the subject. Through the research, I am able to help find different parts of a large story regarding the future of Georgia. Each newspaper contains new information regarding the time period and people's views during the election. It reminds me of a learning activity I did in a history class during my freshman fall. My class, #Everythinghashistory had a lesson in Rauner Library, and we used personal letters, newspaper clippings, and other documents to piece together the story of how the first female professor came to Dartmouth. This sort of investigative process is alive and well in my research.
The research has also helped me see just how much history repeats itself. I often find myself while working seeing similarities between the politics of the past and the politics of today. It is very eye-opening and it shows me how necessary history is when solving problems in today's world. I'm really thankful for the opportunity to conduct research at Dartmouth. The research process is very open towards students and so I encourage students to take this opportunity!