Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Andy Doyle

Committee Member

Dr. Eddie Lee

Committee Member

Dr. Virginia Williams


Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, 1964, Liberal Republican, Election, President


This thesis seeks to examine if the conservative victory in the 1964 Republican presidential primaries was inevitable. Based on archival research, primary source materials, and secondary source materials, it is concluded that conservative candidate Barry Goldwater faced numerous instances when his campaign could have been defeated by Republican challengers, campaign blunders, and internal party factions. This thesis focuses on liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller’s campaign with the intention of articulating the fracturing of the Republican Party in the early 1960s. Rockefeller’s quest for the nomination is emblematic of the changing nature of presidential politics in the post-World War II era leading to changes in voter preferences, campaign tactics, and ultimately the path to the White House.