Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-9-2018

Major Department or Program



Gilbert Mireles


In today’s political landscape and popular culture, conservative messages and rhetoric are commonplace and prevalent. This thesis aims to understand the origins of these messages and the reason for their lasting appeal. Building on preexisting literature, that establishes the origins of modern conservatism in the post war period, specifically in the early 1960s, this thesis preforms a content analysis of speeches by Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. Grounded in a combination of social movements and discourse theory, it identifies the trends in language use and the ideological similarities and differences between the three politicians. It attempts to answer questions regarding what factors allowed for the successful emergence of conservatism and how previous messages both connect to and are different from those of today.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Goldwater, Barry -- 1938- ‚ Nixon, Richard M. -- (Richard Milhous) -- 1913-1994‚ Reagan, Ronald‚ Conservatism -- United States‚ Conservatives‚ Social movements‚ Discourse analysis‚ Republicanism‚ Political culture‚ Social sciences‚ Whitman College 2018 -- Dissertation collection -- Sociology Department

Permanent URL

Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).