Political Science Thesis Abstracts

Eric Gregoire (Rod Christy), 2011

The Tea Party: A Social Movement, Party Faction, or Third Party?

The focus of my project will be the so called “Tea Party Movement.” My presentation will show the rise of this group as a political force across the country and the effects the movement had on the national political landscape and its reach into political campaigns during the 2010 midterm elections. In addition, I will look at ability for the movement to become an active political party. I will consider questions like: Does the movement have the necessary resources and structure to become a political party? Is the movement something that is simply a “flash in the pan” or a serious political trend? Finally I will look at why this movement arose and what some of the influences have been in the establishment of the Tea Party. This presentation will explore social movements that have transformed themselves into political movements, either creating a new political party or a shift in the balance of political power between existing parties. I will analyze whether or not the “tea party movement” is an example of a social movement becoming a political party or just a faction within the Republican Party. I will present three case studies of how the tea party movement operated in the 2010 mid-term elections: the Delaware Republican US Senate primary, Alaska Republican US Senate primary, and the Kentucky Republican US Senate primary. These campaigns will show how activists got involved in the campaigns and how the candidates aligned themselves with segments of the electorate. The purpose of these case studies are to illustrate the research conducted on the three segments and to draw a tentative conclusion about what the tea party movement should be considered.

Ashley Devlaminck (Rene Reeves), 2013

The Central "Interference" Agency: US Foreign Policy in Guatemala

This project seeks to investigate what the US was doing in Latin America during the 20th century, specifically Guatemala and the US program to destabilize the Guatemalan government during the 1950s. What is clear is that the priorities were American, not Guatemalan. The 1954 Coup that ousted Jacob Arbenz as president was only the beginning. For nearly 4 decades following the coup, the U.S. supplied Guatemala’s politically repressive regimes with training, equipment, and financing. By 1996, nearly 200,000 people had been killed by the post-coup regimes. For an operation that was named PBSUCCESS, this doesn’t seem like success. Yet by American standards it was success. Why is that? It goes back to what the U.S. was doing there in the first place. This project aims to show that it is unlikely that the Guatemalan government would have been overthrown, at least in 1954, without the involvement of the US, that US involvement in Guatemalan affairs had a long term, negative impact, and that tactics used by the CIA put into question the ethics of U.S. foreign policy and the foundation that the agency was built upon.