Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Robert S. Weise

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Joshua A. Lynn

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Jacqueline E. Jay

Department Affiliation



The central question this thesis addresses is how increasing federal power impacted local peoples, both politicians and otherwise. Kentucky politics was an already convoluted subject of local interconnected patronage without adding even more possible connections. The War on Poverty did just that, adding more players to the ‘game’ of Kentucky politics through numerous influential programs. This thesis closely follows the later years of the War on Poverty in Floyd County specifically to discover what changes were created in the political and social spheres.

This thesis’ findings are based in a contextualized reading of local and foreign newspapers, letters to Representative Carl D. Perkins and various local and federal documents relating to the Appalachian Volunteers, VISTA, and Floyd County. By contextualizing these sources with ideas of political hegemony, postwar changes to conservatism and liberalism, and a historical knowledge of the processes of Kentucky politics, these sources reveal a deeper impact to the War on Poverty in Floyd County. More radical programs of War on Poverty, the Appalachian Volunteers and VISTA, had stirred the local political giants of Floyd County into opposing them to retain control over the flow of local funding. This funding itself had unintended consequences for Floyd County politics. Elites’ inability to reach political hegemony and cement their powers shaped the emerging three-party relationship between local politicians, the federal state, and locals who were simultaneously constituents of both, forever changing how local politics function in Floyd County.