Date of this Version



Dr. Eric Feldman


federal policy, drug policy, public papers, war on drugs


This thesis analyzes the role of drugs in federal policy, specifically as a topic of presidential discourse. To this end, speeches, press releases, and other executive documents from various administration’s public papers are examined within their historical and social context. On the whole, it is noted how drugs provide a forum for approaching policy questions that presidents were already concerned with. Such questions include intergenerational conflict, race relations, war, individual liberties, incarceration, immigration, federalism, communism, scientific developments, and crime more broadly. While each administration focused on these topics to a greater or lesser degree, every president from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan used drugs to further their existing political agenda within some of these domains.



Date Posted: 10 February 2023


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