Major Department

Political Science


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Summer 2017

Honors Major Advisor

Rene Rocha

Thesis Mentor

John S. Nelson


This thesis argues that the root cause of both climate change and the decline of democracy in the West is neoliberalism’s pervasive marginalization of faith in public action. It responds to the election of Donald Trump by critically analyzing how noted democratic theorist Sheldon Wolin interpreted the election of Ronald Reagan and the lessons to be learned from it. It argues that Wolin is right to ascribe great importance to historical memory in democratic citizenship, but wrong to highlight localism as the primary venue for contestation, especially in the context of global climate change. The antidote to these problems, then, is to reinvigorate people’s faith in public planning by forcefully reasserting the role of the state in areas where the interests of capital are most clearly incompatible with the general welfare. It proposes nationalizing the fossil fuel industry as an example of a policy that would fulfill these needs.


political theory, climate change, neoliberalism, participatory democracy, transitional justice, Sheldon Wolin

Total Pages

54 pages


Copyright © 2017 Christopher Jackson