Department or Program

Political Science

Additional Department or Program (if any)

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Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Professor Paul MacDonald

Additional Advisor(s)

Professor Nadya Hajj


This research analyzes the presidential rhetoric employed to communicate the Bush Doctrine foreign policy objectives to the American public in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks until the declaration of war on Iraq. Strategic and ideological interests are quantified utilizing content analysis data collected from foreign policy speeches that President Bush delivered from September 11, 2001, to March 19, 2003. The data and speeches are evaluated to classify the Bush grand strategy as realist, liberal or neoconservative and to determine whether the Bush Doctrine represents change or continuity in US foreign policy. Surveys from March 2003 are included to assess the impact of presidential rhetoric on public opinion. These results contribute to the debate surrounding the Bush Doctrine and US foreign policy in the Middle East after 9/11.