Update #1: How Democracies Die

This project was initially inspired by not only my study of revolutions and regime changes while at William and Mary, but also the 2016 election and the subsequent issues that have risen concerning how our government is run and the overall state of the United States’ democracy. I decided to study something that has applied to both of these areas of study: populism. One source that aims to explain and describe these events and the election of Donald Trump is How Democracies Die by Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

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Populism of the 20th century and Donald Trump – abstract

Through this research I hope to compare Populism in the United States today to its utilization by Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin during the 1930s and George Wallace in the 1960s. Further, I will explore how mainstream political parties dealt with the rise and popularity of those leaders but still barred them from achieving political success. I will begin by exploring and identifying the major themes and rhetoric associated with American populist politicians of the 20th century. Next, I will look more closely at the resurgence of Populism today by researching recent events, social and political movements, and the current administration in the United States. With this project I hope to produce a compiled analysis of historic populism and recent political movement written in the form of a literature review.

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