Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1996 David Augustine. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Black Studies, Public Policy, Political Science

First Advisor

Richard M. Valelly

Second Advisor

Raymond F. Hopkins


This thesis examines how the Republican sweep in November 1994 ushered in an uncertain future for the policy agenda of black Americans. As a minority party, Republicans were regarded as not particularly receptive to black interests and showed early signs of amplifying that view upon their ascension into the majority. In the House, Speaker Gingrich ordered elimination of funding for all caucuses—or Legislative Service Organizations—of which the black caucus was the largest, oldest, and most influential. Suddenly, black members of Congress found themselves without the caucus that had afforded them so much power over policy in previous years, on issues from Haiti to housing. Although the decision was framed in terms of fiscal austerity, the political implication was clear. This suspicion seemed confirmed by the initial flurry of votes. As the black caucus and others have argued, much of the Contract with America especially cuts in social spending and a general reduction in governmental power-seems against the policy interests of black Americans. However, there is much left unanswered from this cursory look at these broad notions—and this thesis will examine these unanswered questions. Methodology includes interviews and data analysis.