Date of Award

Winter 3-10-2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Julie Nicoletta

Second Advisor

William Burghart


White nationalism has been a part of United States history since the dawn of the nation but remained a secondary issue in comparison to white supremacy. Within the last thirty years however, white nationalism has been on the rise in the United States, and is slowly becoming mainstream rhetoric within politics, as well as in social and economic discussions. What has caused this rise in white nationalism? Has the popularity of social media and the internet since the 1990s influenced its growth?

With the use of primary sources such as speeches, books written by white nationalists, and insider internet sources, one can see that the motivations behind white nationalism have shifted away from the oppression of other races, with underlying ideas of white superiority, to a view of victimhood, with racial protection cited as a primary justification. Using academic journals and scholarly books analyzing the history and development of white nationalism, it is apparent that white nationalism has risen and fallen through American history, with the most recent development being a result of social media and meme culture that has brought it out of the fringes of society and into mainstream society and discussion. The importance of this topic is reflected in the fact that what was once considered dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric has become something more accepted and embraced in a society that used to be labeled as post-racial and color-blind.