This thesis examines the handling of racial issues in United States political party platforms from 1964 to 2016. The primary objective of this study is to analyze how the two major political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have approached issues of race in their platforms.

To accomplish this, a content analysis was conducted on the platforms of both parties during this time period. Each reference to race in the platforms was categorized as either "acclaim," "defend," or "attack." "Acclaim" refers to statements that praise racial progress or advocate for policies that benefit marginalized communities. "Defend" refers to statements that seek to justify the party's position on race or defend racial issues, while "attack" refers to statements that criticize the other party's position or policies related to race. The study reveals that the parties have used different strategies to address race.

This research is important because it sheds light on the ways in which the two major political parties have addressed one of the most significant issues facing the United States. The findings provide insight into the ideological differences between the parties and offer a historical perspective on the evolution of racial politics in the United States. This research is relevant for scholars and policymakers interested in understanding the role of race in American politics, as well as for activists and advocates seeking to influence policy outcomes related to racial justice.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Fine, Terri Susan


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Degree Program

Political Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date