Date of Award

Fall 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Stacy VanDeveer


Since the 1960s, neo-conservatives advanced their agenda through journals, think tanks, coalitions, and by serving as high-level government officials. While scholars have noted this influence, there's little written on how neo-conservative ideas have evolved and influenced foreign policy under these changing historical circumstances. Moreover, very little scholarship foils neo-conservatism against the two dominant approaches to foreign policy in the 20th century---realism and liberalism---to discover how they are held together as a group. This thesis finds that neo-conservatism is a political ideology of American foreign policy that has developed several common tendencies over the last forty years. These include an ardent belief in the use of unilateral American military power, distain for multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, Wilsonian ideas of spreading democracy, steadfast support for Israel, and overstated threat assessments.