Spotlight on Student Scholars - Michael Schramm ’14

News Image Michael, the recipient of a Muhlenberg College Dean’s Grant, spent the summer researching “Radical America: Populism and Socialism in the 1890’s.”

 Wednesday, November 27, 2013 01:33 PM

As a history and political science double major, he originally expressed an interest in studying the historical climate between the conclusion and aftermath of the American Civil War and the onset of the first World War.

Dr. Daniel Wilson, professor of history and a faculty mentor of Michael's, encouraged him to be more specific. During their weekly discussions, Michael began to investigate the Populist movement and the social changes the group attempted to enact.

Michael tried to explore the historical controversies regarding the Populists. The two main views he discovered portrayed the groups as either radical reformers or as reactionary conservatives who desired a return to an agrarian society. He was left trying to formulate his own opinions, based on the journalism and contemporary writing he poured through, on whether or not the eventual goals the Populists sought could classify them as a successful political movement. 

One of his most enjoyable and surprising discoveries involved the passion and bias of contemporary journalism. Michael began to appreciate the powerful persuasive tones and challenges issued by historical writers, something he finds watered-down and diminshed in today's media.

Michael's research was one of dozens of summer projects made possible through funding through generous individuals and foundations and by Muhlenberg College. To learn more about how Muhlenberg supports student research and student-faculty collaboration, please visit our Research and Scholarship site.