Oral Presentations - Session 3C: UC 330


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Friday, April 12th
4:00 PM

Forging a Secular Coalition: The National Liberal League's Battle to Separate Church and State in Late Nineteenth-Century America

Maria Trujillo, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 330

4:00 PM - 4:20 PM

While writing a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802, Thomas Jefferson could never have guessed the future impact of the phrase, “a high wall of separation between Church and State.” A widely accepted description of the First Amendment today, this expression only became connected with the sanctity of the secular state towards the end of the nineteenth-century, and only because of efforts made by secular movements like the National Liberal League. This organization, despite the wide range of religious and political beliefs held by its members, became committed to a single cause––the complete separation of church and state—and created one of the most diversified national organizations in the nineteenth-century. Though the movement failed to achieve many of its immediate and material goals, and existed only for a short while, the Liberal League succeeded in increasing public debate on secular issues and shaping many Americans’ understandings of secularism, minority rights, and the meaning behind the First Amendment.

To investigate the history and essence of the National Liberal League’s work, I gathered primary evidence from journals, pamphlets, and newspapers like the League’s main organ The Truth Seeker. I also examined documents and speeches produced by prominent members such as Colonel Robert Ingersoll, D.M. Bennett, B.F. Underwood, and Elizur Wright. Secondary readings provided contextual support. By using the resources available through the University of Montana, I reconstructed the history of American secularism, and the unique position the National Liberal League occupied within it.

Though this exceptional movement operated around one of the most significant phrases in American history, almost no research has been undertaken to gain meaning from the organization’s efforts. My paper and presentation will explore how this organization helped to shape American secularism and why it is so significant to American history.

4:20 PM

The Power of Place in Return Migration

Harry Brennan, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 330

4:20 PM - 4:40 PM

In the last century the U.S. has experienced a significant population shift from rural to urban areas. Young adults represent an overwhelming proportion of this shift, leaving home after high school in search of economic, educational, and recreational opportunities. While some young migrants eventually choose to return home, many do not. Much research has been devoted to the motives behind the migration of rural youth, but fewer studies have focused on return migration. To test the hypothesis that the decision of whether to return or not is based at least partially on the characteristics of the places in which the people reside, I rely on ArcGIS and a dataset of roughly 300 interviews that took place at high school reunions in 21 rural communities. The first step of my analysis was to code the interviews as either ‘away’ or ‘return’ migrants. Next, I identified the most recent place of residence for away-migrants, and the place immediately preceding the return to their hometown for return-migrants. These places were compared using three characteristics of place: natural amenity value, size of the migration place, and whether the migration place was in-state. Of those factors, the size of the migration place had the strongest impact on the migrant’s decision of whether or not to return home. Finally, using ArcGIS I created 28 maps to visualize the migration of the interviewees. Though future studies will be needed to test the influence of economic and social factors, this study provides new insight into rural return migration.

4:40 PM

Integration of Icecamp with the Community Ice Sheet Model

Kyle Doyle, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 330

4:40 PM - 5:00 PM

One of the primary computer programs used for modelling the flow of ice sheets is the Community Ice Sheet Model, or CISM. While this program is a very powerful and useful tool, there are other models which portray certain aspects of ice sheet flow in a more accurate manner. Being able to integrate more accurate models into the CISM is an important part of furthering our understanding of ice sheets. The focus of this project is to incorporate a new model, Icecamp, into the CISM. This is a challenging task, particularly as Icecamp is relatively new and has little documentation or testing. Testing will be the main focus of my contribution using the standard methods of intercomparison between different models.

This will require research into existing ice flow models, Fortran coding techniques, and extensive research on Icecamp's current functionality. The main focus of the project is modification of existing code, which will require understanding the underlying functionality and extending it significantly. In addition, there are many computing techniques which may contribute to Icecamp, which will also be investigated throughout the course of the project.