Date of Award

Spring 4-22-2024

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

Jared McDonald

Major or Concentration

Political Science


The election of Donald J. Trump in 2016 was a shock that rippled across America. It came out of the blue and was pushed forward by the most religious sect of the US population. This left many questioning the power that Trump held to sway these voters and convince them of his religious fervor. What many people did not pay attention to was the unique religious background that Trump had. He was raised in the church of Norman Vincent Peale, famed prosperity gospel minister and creator of the “Power of Positive Thinking.” Peale’s teachings revolved around the effect of confidence and positive thinking-based faith and how it led to financial and personal success. The impact of Peale’s teachings are found within Trump’s rhetoric and behavior, linking the two men together. Peale’s impact allowed for Trump to find his way into the White House through strong evangelical support.