Abstract

Inspired by the use of nostalgia in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, this paper seeks to provide an overview of the literature on the politics of nostalgia, and understand the types and use of nostalgia in contemporary presidencies. The literature review reveals that nostalgia is not a uniform phenomenon and outlines a variety of categories and types of nostalgia. In particular, this paper explores the usage of traditional and progressive nostalgia. Additionally, this paper analyzes twelve official presidential speeches from 2000 to 2017 to answer the following research questions: Have presidents’ use of nostalgia in official speeches changed since 2000? Does President Trump utilize nostalgia at a statistically significant higher rate than Presidents Bush and Obama? This paper finds that use of nostalgia has not changed since 2000, and that presidents use nostalgia at similar rates. However, this paper does find that Donald Trump uses traditional nostalgia, while both Bush and Obama employed progressive nostalgia in their speeches.

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