Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Jennifer Delton


The emergence of two populist presidential candidates within both political parties during the 2016 election cycle sent shockwaves throughout America. Populism, presented as highly foreign to the American political system by media outlets and political commentators, is increasingly received with fear and hostility; however, Americans fail to recognize the existence of a uniquely American brand of populism that consists of ephemeral actors and lasting consequences. Through a cumulative study of populist actors and their respective movements from the Populist Party of the 1890s to George Wallace's American Independent Party of the 1960s and 1970s, this paper aims to identify two components of American populism that accent 2016's populist platforms and to recognize populism as a complex phenomenon within the American political system. American populists engage, in varying capacities, appeals to both collective economic rights and popular prejudices.