Publication Year



History, Edmund Burke, politics, public policy, poverty, social welfare


Political Science | Public Policy | Social Welfare | United States History


As a student of history with a secondary major in political science, I have two overriding interests. The first is public policy, the methods by which society identifies and addresses the problems which government can solve. The second is intellectual history, the analysis of influential social critics. I have always believed that these two should be inextricably linked, that there are timeless principles which apply to the most modern social problems.

This Senior Honors Thesis is an attempt to meld those two interests. In late 20th-century America, "social welfare" has become a primary focus of government. This paper seeks to present a Burkean analysis of U.S. antipoverty programs. It will apply the political theories of Edmund Burke to the social programs whose roots lie in the Great Society and to some extent the New Deal. This certainly is not the only possible approach to the subject; it simply is the one I have chosen to explore.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status