Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Carl Bon Tempo, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Michitake Aso, Ph. D.


This thesis explores the experiences of Italian American political radicals from 1927 to 1969, a time when Italians moved from the shadows and into the mainstream of American society. Through an analysis of the lives and actions of Italian American political radicals, I argue that these individuals included in this study utilized their sense if Italian heritage to varying extents in shaping the character of their radicalism. This thesis focuses on historical contexts that shaped their political radicalism. The individuals addressed actively engaged in political movements, participated in the labor force, ran for public office, and fought to protect their rights as citizens. During the 1920s and 1930s, these Italian American political radicals were mainly political refugees from Italy and predominantly worked as political organizers. By the 1940s and 1950 these political radicals were professional politicians and intellectuals. Finally, in the 1960s, intellectuals and student radicals of Italian American dissent come to the forefront of Italian American political radicalism. The paper also demonstrates that Italian American political dissent during the mid-twentieth century was not a threat to American society. Rather, during the period under consideration, Italian American political radicals aimed to both preserve and transform numerous aspects of American society that are considered to be fundamental and are widely accepted in the modern day. This thesis relies on a variety of sources ranging from oral history interviews from the Oral History of the American Left at Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives in New York, NY, dialog from the Congressional Record, personal manuscript collections, and historical newspaper articles.