Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Brian Peterson




Ghana, political identity, post-colonial studies, nationalist movement


This thesis examines the role of national identity in the development of modern Ghana. It uses secondary and primary sources in order to determine the role that political identity, ethnicity, religion, and Pan-Africanism played in nation-building following independence. In exploring the making of the Ghanaian state in the post-colonial period, this thesis argues that political identity and its growth during this time was central. More specifically, the focus of this thesis is the relationship between Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, and the various bases of political identity. In the 1960s Nkrumah attempted to implement a socialist state, and although he was eventually overthrown in an army coup, his efforts left a strong legacy of socialism. Also, during this time, Nkrumah sought to subordinate religious and ethnic identities to the needs of the state. Nkrumah’s greatest success was his promotion of the Pan-African movement, which resulted in a strong nationalist movement in Ghana, allowing for a cohesive identity to develop. Ultimately, this thesis concludes that the political, religious, ethnic, and sociological changes occurring in the 1960s and 1970s were critical to the creation of the post-colonial state and future development of Ghana. Ghanaian identity, though not entirely cohesive, was greatly affected by the political adaptations that took place during this time. The Pan-African movement and its ideology was specifically important in developing a national identity in Ghana, and creating a socialist and nationalist legacy of Nkrumah.