Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Political Science & International Relations

First Advisor

Dennis Wiedmann

Second Advisor

Erik Pratt

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Chute

Abstract

For the past decade more and more Americans in the age cohort labeled Generation X have been criticized for displaying an unwillingness to vote in national and local elections. According to the research done on this topic, it is true that more than half the people in this age group do not participate in their civil duty of casting a ballot during elections.1 This cohort, made up of nearly fifty million Americans between the ages of 21 to 37, has developed this pattern as a result of many factors. The manner in which Generation X was socialized by society and the social changes of the seventies and eighties could be the reason over half of Generation X is unwilling to vote.

The influence of a skyrocketing divorce rate, along with the influence of technology led Generation X to hold a unique view of the way the world works. The second factor is the process of political socialization that Generation X experienced was tainted by the time in which it happened; during the post-Watergate and Vietnam era. The third factor is that the design of the political system in America, has turned Generation X away from participating within the system. All of these factors may have led to a decrease in voter turnout by Generation X.

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