Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Michele Angrist




class, war, divisions, opinion, upper


The research subject I will examine and analyze is that of U.S. engagement policies in two foreign wars, the Vietnam War and the War in Iraq. Specifically, I will look at the comparative elements that are present in each case of American intervention abroad. Although these conflicts occurred almost forty years apart, there are alarming parallels. The major component that I will dissect is the role of class within the American military in both conflicts. Staunch class divisions were given great attention during the Vietnam War because it became evident that upper class citizens were able to avoid military responsibilities. Policymakers blamed these divisions on the presence of the draft, yet forty years later with the War in Iraq, class divisions are still incredibly prevalent. I will look at the sources of these class divisions more specifically in each chapter. The Vietnam War and the War in Iraq also exhibit major turning points in public opinion amongst Americans, which I attribute to a change in opinion amongst the upper class. My findings show that the upper class maintains the power to influence policymaking decisions, and to drive the course of American public opinion. The role of the media is additionally examined as an influential factor in shaping public opinion. The various effects that the media has on members of the lower and upper classes is specifically explored.