Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Type

Honors Project


College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Ryan LeCount


The United States is one of few nations yet to name an official language. However, the desire to make English the official language of the US has been prevalent throughout history and remains strong to this day. The purpose of this study is to examine the factors that are related to greater support for English-Only policy. Previous studies have found that ideas of nationalism, specifically holding ethno-cultural criteria of national membership, is correlated with greater support for English-Only policy (Citrin et al, 1990; Frendreis and Tatalovich, 1997; Garcia and Bass, 2007; Schildkraut, 2003). This study will retest some of these previous studies, while also enhancing them through the use of various nationally representative datasets and the incorporation of more measures of criteria of national membership. Additionally, this study seeks to fill a gap in the existing literature on the connections between English-Only support and color-blind racial ideologies. Frendreis and Tatalovich (1997) found that explicit intergroup racial hostility was not the basis for English-Only support. However, no studies have been done on how more covert forms of racism, arguably the more common form in today’s society, are connected with English-Only support. The primary relationships described above will be analyzed while controlling for multiple sociodemographic variables. Based on the existing research, it is expected that as general feelings of nationalism increase, so will support for English-Only policy. Furthermore, those who hold an ethnocultural view of nationalism will be more likely to support English-Only policy than those who don’t. Finally, endorsement of color-blind racial ideologies will be correlated with increased support for English-Only policy. These hypotheses will be tested using regression analysis on two secondary datasets as well as originally collected data. Findings suggest that endorsement of ethno-cultural criteria of national membership and of color-blind racial ideologies is related to increased support for English-Only policy.

2017 Diversity Research Award Winner