Award Date

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

David Henry

Second Committee Member

Sara VanderHaagen

Third Committee Member

Donovan Conley

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Futrell

Number of Pages



At the end of the 1940s, conservatives faced internal divisions, an elitist image, and people supporting government post Great Depression. Liberalism seemed entrenched throughout society. Yet, the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), the first national, conservative movement, formed in 1960. This thesis investigates YAF’s earliest “publicity” in National Review, an influential magazine, to understand part of what preceded conservatism’s evolution. Publishing “The Ivory Tower: Young Americans for Freedom” by William F. Buckley and the “Sharon Statement,” YAF’s manifesto, side-by-side formed a new identity—young conservative—that empowered activists. From Maurice Charland’s “constitutive rhetoric,” chapter two investigates Buckley’s telling of the past as a justification for the present and possibilities for the future despite material and symbolic obstacles. Richard M. Weaver’s theory undergirds chapter three’s analysis of the “Sharon Statement,” which illuminates how the document unified via its structure and language. Buckley’s narrative energized youth and dismissed stigma, while the manifesto conveyed a workable ideology for managing intra-conservative conflicts. This thesis benefits previous research by starting the work of examining YAF’s resistance, theorizing “publicity” through an understanding of narrative and vision, and tracking “freedom” as a powerful addition to conservatives’ vocabulary.


conservative; National Review; publicity; rhetoric; social movement; Young Americans for Freedom


Communication | Rhetoric | Sociology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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