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Honors Thesis-Unrestricted

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Andrew Goss


As a prominent and influential missionary in Turkey in the early 20th century, Samuel Ralph Harlow offers a new perspective that should be included in historical literature on foreign missionaries and human rights. Through his correspondence and academic works, Harlow’s story unveils internal conflict among United States officials and missionaries in regard to Turkish treatment of Greeks and Armenians in the interwar period. Samuel Ralph Harlow represents the position in support of American intervention to rescue Greeks and Armenians from massacre and deportation, but as his superiors’ views on the matter changed, Harlow was silenced. The U.S. may have decided not to intervene after all, but missionaries certainly played a role in the decision. Harlow was an early advocate for foreign intervention for the sake of protecting human rights, and his story shows how American missionaries helped mold U.S. support for protecting vulnerable populations abroad. The Samuel Ralph Harlow Papers at Amistad Research Center are virtually untouched by academics; thus, Harlow deserves a study in his own right. This study involved extensive research on Harlow’s original papers, the United States Government Official Foreign Relations Documents, and the historiography of human rights and missionaries in the Middle East, particularly Turkey.


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