Date of Award

Fall 12-7-2023

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science and International Affairs

Department Chair or Program Director

Cooperman, Rosalyn

First Advisor

Emile Lester

Second Advisor

Mary Beth Mathews

Major or Concentration

Political Science


This thesis concerns the social gospel, a liberal Protestant movement that enjoyed its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The thesis argues that the movement’s two most prominent figures, Washington Gladden and Walter Rauschenbusch, expressed an antipathy toward immigrants and a paternalistic attitude toward foreign nations and cultures. These attitudes then laid the foundation for contemporary anti-immigrant sentiments and US foreign policy. Gladden and Rauschenbusch’s rhetoric contains sentiments which act as a precursor to various elements of American exceptionalism, from missionary activity abroad to liberal attitudes toward the Middle East after 9/11. These links have not been explored extensively in previous literature, and the thesis aims to fill this gap.