Spring 4-18-2018

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Farnsworth, Stephen

Second Advisor

Lester, Emile

Department Chair or Program Director

Kramer, John

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration

Political Science

Department or Program

Political Science and International Affairs


This paper examines the status of socialism in contemporary US politics. Historically, socialists have struggled to garner much popularity or political success in America. However, recent events suggest that socialism has increased in popularity. This project first analyzes the history of socialism in the United States and identifies a number of factors that have inhibited its success. The project then analyzes public opinion data on reactions to the term “socialism” and opinion on universal healthcare. This data analysis breaks down public opinion by different demographic factors to determine which Americans are most likely to express support for socialism and proposals commonly espoused by socialists. The data analysis suggests that there has been a generational shift on public opinion regarding socialism. The paper argues that this shift is due in part to the end of the Cold War, but that the collapse of the Soviet Union alone is insufficient to explain this trend. Rather, this paper argues that the economic difficulties facing young Americans has challenged their faith in Americanism. The paper concludes by suggesting possible areas for future research.