Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Government Dept.


Joseph Reisert

Second Advisor

Valérie Dionne


The word populism is often thrown around in news media and academic scholarship, but there is a lack of understanding of what it actually means as a political theory. In France, the two presidential candidates that made it to the second round in 2017, Emmanuel Macron and Marine le Pen, were both called populist, despite having vastly different campaign strategies and messages. This study used a computer-based method to analyze Campaign books from 24 candidates beginning in 1981 that determined that Populist language is on the rise, but not as aggressively as news media suggests.


Populism, France, Elections, Rhetoric