Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Political Science


Political Science

Major Professor

Matthew Jacobsmeier, PhD

Second Advisor

Christine Day, PhD

Third Advisor

Salmon Shomade, PhD


Researchers have suggested that Blacks who express linked racial fate are ideologically liberal. Given the prominence of Black philosophical thought and salience of race, I suggest that linked racial fate results in conservative ideology, which exists on a separate ideological dimension than the traditional conservative ideological dimension. This new ideological dimension, referred to as conservatism among Blacks, is vital to understanding Black political thought in the 21st century. Using data from the 1996 National Black Election Study, 2008 National Annenberg Election Study, and focus group data I argue that the conservative ideas espoused by Blacks, specifically members of the Talented Tenth, actually support Black advancement in the same way that Blacks express support for Democratic candidates or ideals as a result of linked racial fate. Moreover, conservatism among Blacks does not result in a specific partisan identification or support for certain candidates; instead, conservatism results in explicit support for policies and ideas that align with the ideas and philosophies of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Marcus M. Garvey. This dissertation fills the gap in the literature that does not utilize Black philosophers, Black political leaders, or college educated Blacks to explain Black political thought and behavior. The study of members of the Talented Tenth provides a framework for understanding how Blacks negotiate various political philosophies, challenging traditional Black American political thought while remaining racially linked to the Black community


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