Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science


Political Science, General.




Religious and secular millenarianism have had a significant impact on the development of many different polities. In both its forms, millenarianism has both positive and negative impacts. It can provide a community with a strong motivation to work together while it promotes group cohesion, and serves as a mechanism of community development. At the same time, it can develop into authoritarianism and totalitarianism. This thesis examines millenarian belief structures' impact on politics and asks several questions. What impact has millenarian belief structures had on the development of the American political culture? Are secular or religious groups more prone to exhibiting violent political activities? Does a millennial group require a catalytic event such as economic stress or state oppression to resort to violence? It finds that millennial belief structures have played a key role in the development of the broader American culture, and have been an element in political movements from all parts of the political spectrum. Some communities have thrived and others have caused or been part of significant social disruption. Within the American context a pattern of secular groups exhibiting a greater propensity to socio-pathology has emerged. This study can not support an argument that a catalytic event is required to spawn group violence, because from the sample used in this study there is no link between economic stress and violence and only a weak relationship between state oppression and group violence. This study's findings are a contradiction of previous research that suggests: violence mainly occurs as a result of such pressure; religious millenarianism is a form of social pathology and something outside "normal" political discourse; and, that millennialism is a form of social pathology. Further research might be pursued in order to determine if the greater propensity for secular groups to resort to violence is part of a larger pattern or a peculiarity of the American political culture. In addition, a further study might build upon the examination of secular and religious political groups to go beyond millennial structures to try to more fully examine the relationship of religion and secular politics in contemporary political cultures.Dept. of History, Philosophy, and Political Science. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2005 .S56. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 44-03, page: 1218. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2005.