Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Political Science (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Barry Balleck


The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, saw more than five hundred protestors teamed with dozens of militia groups, all representing anti-government and white nationalist groups. Also present were over one thousand counter protestors, many representing far-left and antifascist groups, leading to a violent confrontation between the two sides. As we have developed our core themes of what defines the United States of America, we have also fostered a strong division along the way, enough to the point where some individuals feel the necessity to act with violence to “save our nation” so to speak. This conviction exists within both people of left-leaning ideology and right-leaning ideology, and they seem to foster our established core themes in completely different ways. What factors have contributed to this ideological conflict? Even though the violent left-right conflict in Charlottesville seems to be an instance unlike anything in American history, both left-wing groups and right-wing groups are not new by any means. In fact, I argue that older radical political groups that have existed are precursors to this modern phenomenon. This research was conducted through the model of a thematic density, a form of rhetorical analysis where key words from official documents are analyzed to discover correlating themes.