Groundwork for later Marxist thought.


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The US needs something like a British parliamentary system. Led to: Years of debate. Openness to exchange ideas. Respect even from those who disagreed. Fun Fact: Wilson argued for US progression according to a divine plan. Developed aspects of radioactivity. Albert Einstein, "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions" Location, Germany Thesis: Initial estimates of the Avogadro constant, a measurement of the number of constituent particles per mole of a substance.

Led to: Papers on the photoelectric effect, brownian motion, special relativity, and equivalence of mass and energy. Nobel Prize in Physics, The wave nature of electrons suggests that all matter has wave properties.

Nothing new about Newt's self-serving reactionary rant

Ludwig Wittengestein, , Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus University: Cambridge Thesis: Attempted to identify the relationship between language and reality, and define the limits of science. Led to: Advancement of logical positivism. Later pivot to common language philosophy. Led to: Early understanding of computers. Notion that computers can consult other computers.

Paul Samuelson, , "The Foundations of Economic Analysis" University: Harvard Thesis: Mathematical structure of utility by consumers and profits by firms, as well as the stability of equilibrium of economic systems outlined. Led to: More productive use of math in economics. Landmark textbook in study of economics.

Find a copy in the library

Martin Luther King Jr. How my foray into the University of Texas microfiche collection helped spark, nearly three years later, a small scandal over the GOP primary leader's dissertation. In April , two days after defending my PhD dissertation, I sat down to write a blog post about one of the strangest experiences I'd had while writing it: reading Newt Gingrich's dissertation.


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We'd covered similar topics and I had to be sure that I had reviewed all the literature in the field: my research is on health care and education provision in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gingrich's year-old Tulane dissertation is about education policy under the country's Belgian colonizers. At the time, Gingrich was still a largely forgotten figure in U. Two and a half years later, with Gingrich leading polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, his once-obscure project has since become a hot topic.

Newt Gingrich's campaign's last hurrah

My month-old blog post has gone along for the ride, attracting several thousand hits in the last few weeks, thanks to mentions in the opinion pages of the New York Times , Salon , and other outlets that have discovered his dissertation. I read Gingrich's dissertation in the last month or so of doing research for my own, and the experience was not pleasant. The University of Texas at Austin library had the work among its microfiche holdings, so I trudged over one afternoon to sit in the basement and scroll through Gingrich's research on an ancient microfiche reader.

What I read was, for the most part, interesting, although I had already encountered many of the topics Gingrich discussed in articles from the Journal of Negro Education , in which scholars like Ellsworth Faris and Morris Siegel took a special interest in education policy in central Africa in the early 20th century. One issue of which I had not been aware was the absurd debate among Belgian colonial authorities as to whether education in Congo should be bilingual -- that is, in French and Flemish -- which Gingrich covered in great detail.

My initial sense of Gingrich's work was fairly negative.

He'd expressed a positive view of the colonial project in general and in Congo particularly, both of which surprised me. Gingrich tried to evaluate Belgian colonial education policy on its own terms, without, as historian Adam Hochschild recently noted , referencing the actual experiences of Congolese people under Belgian rule. While Gingrich did acknowledge that Belgian colonial education policy was largely a failure, he saw their stated goal -- primarily, that of bringing the Congolese into the modern era -- as noble.

This policy, however, severely restricted the educational opportunities of the vast majority of the Congo's residents. Most were only allowed to attain a fourth-to-sixth grade education, and none were allowed to become medical doctors or to prepare for similarly important professions.

Newt Gingrich Dissertation Congo - ScanBC

Gingrich acknowledged that this system left the country unprepared for independence. But he also understated the extent to which that failure doomed the country. He wrote in his conclusion, "If the Congo was not the model colony Belgian publicists pretended, neither was it the disaster news reports from to suggested.