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Honors thesis 1961

During my senior year at Willamette University I wrote a thesis, as required by the Willamette University  Honors Program.  The thesis studied three reforms in three very different societies,  19th Century England,  Czarist Russia,  and the United States,  drew some generalizations about reform movements,  and then tried to extrapolate these generalizations into the peculiar institutions of  the mid-Twentieth Century Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Could such a society be changed by major, peaceful reforms, and if so,  how?   I am rather proud of my analysis,  since I concluded that would-be reformers in the U.S.S.R. would have two possible approaches:  First,  develop a literary career by staying,  at first,  within the narrow boundaries allowed by the censors,  get a reputation,  then gradually write more and more radical things,  putting the censors in the awkward position of having to decide exactly where to draw the line.  Or second,  join the ruling Communist Party,  develop a career within that party,  worm your way up to the top position,  then pull out your reformist horns and push through needed changes.  The first approach was later taken by Alexander Solzhenitsyn,  who got a long ways before he went a little too far and got thrown out of the country.  The second approach was taken later,  first by Alexander Dubchek in the Czechoslovak Spring of 1968.  His reforms were reversed when the U.S.S.R. invaded,  installed a new government, which then retroactively invited the Soviets to invade.  The second try at the second approach was taken by Gorbachev starting in the mid 1980s, and there was nobody to invade and "rescue" the Soviet people.  But poor Gorbachev!  No good deed goes unpunished!

The title of my thesis was On the Possibility of Peaceful Reform in a Relatively Totalitarian State:  An Analysis and Projection of Effective Techniques.  I have put a scan of it which you can click on, below.  For some reason a couple of the pages did not scan properly,  but most of them are ok.  I may try rescanning sometime, but have no time at the moment.
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Paul deLespinasse,
Aug 15, 2015, 5:49 PM
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