Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2012

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Steven Brechin

Honors Reader

Dr. Joan Mandle

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Civic and Community Engagement | Politics and Social Change | Sociology


In this paper, I contend that the skyrocketing influence of money from wealthy individuals and special interest groups has thwarted accountable policymaking and disengaged the average American voter from civic life. This is a pressing concern for a participatory system of government, which relies on its citizens to contribute to lawmaking and the selection of its officeholders.

I begin by outlining how civic engagement has been the bedrock of American democracy.

Then, I proceed by asserting that the rise of the corporate state has sparked the downfall of a representative political structure that is accessible and responsive to all voters.

Thereafter, I argue that the growing role of corporate money in politics has only magnified this political flaw, leading to public disenchantment and lack of political participation. I maintain that today, those who can financially contribute to election campaigns not only sway their results but indebt officeholders – a luxury few of the American public can afford.

In conclusion, I propose that an effective method for boosting civic involvement and restoring faith in American democracy is campaign finance reform, through which elections would become publicly financed. This would strengthen a participatory political framework, in which elected officials would be beholden to their constituents, rather than to affluent campaign donors. In turn, American citizens would be granted a louder political voice.

Levin_Christina_Intro Pages.docx (20 kB)
Abstract, and Cover Page

Levin_Christina_summary.docx (23 kB)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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