Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


Joan Bryant


democratic socialism, Jamaica, Michael Manley, nationalistm, political history, political speeches

Subject Categories

History | Political Science



Leaders and aspiring leaders nurture visions of the nations they want to develop. To fulfill their visions, they develop platforms based on their perceptions of national problems. Ideally, platforms become programs that can create better futures for their people. This concept of governance illuminates the leadership of Michael Manley, who embraced a democratic socialist philosophy to map the future of Jamaica in the 1970s. With campaign slogans like “Better Must Come” and “Forward Together,” Manley conceived of a nation that would embody principles of equality, social justice, and co-operation. I argue that his efforts to develop this new society reflect his brand of nationalism. This thesis analyzes the development and implementation of Manley’s nationalism as part of his construction of an ideal Jamaica.

The thesis situates Manley’s endeavors against the backdrop of Jamaica’s independence from Great Britain. As the country’s third Prime Minister, who followed administrations of his uncle Sir Alexander Bustamante and his father Norman Washington Manley, Michael Manley faced the challenge of promoting a national identity that would make independence a meaningful reality for ordinary citizens. In order to understand how he navigated this challenge and moved beyond colonialism and the first independent governments, the thesis interrogates the philosophies he communicated to the public in speeches he delivered between 1972 and 1980. The analysis demonstrates how his Nationalism served as a mechanism for his democratic socialism.

The thesis approaches the issue of nationalism in two ways. It first maps the types of nationalistic thinking that have been deemed relevant to the Caribbean. This discussion allows me to contrast Manley’s program with dominant notions of nationalism. It provides a conceptual framework for my analysis and conclusions that place Manley’s construction of a Jamaican citizenry at the core of his attempts to build a collective civic and political identity for the nation.


Open Access



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.