Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Bernard Kolasa


The American system of Democracy translates to mean "rule by the people," who are elected into the ruling positions. Are these people "representative" of the voting population or not? In this thesis, the notion is advanced that elitism - rule by a small, wealthy and often powerful group - lies at the basis of our elections, with special attention here paid to state legislatures and governors. The states in this study are: California, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. The areas to be studied in regard to each state and its relative elitist composition are: (1) Background/Evolution of State Government; (2) Political Culture; (3) Plan of Representation/Structure; and (4) The Governor as "Elitist." Finally, this thesis contends that in order to disguise the apparent elitism at the State level, two "pseudo-solutions" are offered to the masses of voters: campaign finance reform and term limits. Both of these are explored at the paper's conclusion.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Matthew C. Stelly August, 2000

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