Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Elizabeth McKillen

Second Committee Member

Richard Judd

Third Committee Member

Scott See


This thesis is a comparative study of the ideology of isolationism in interwar Canada and the United States. It proceeds with that comparison using an individual subject from each country as a case study. For Canada, the subject is the historian and social scientist Arthur R.M. Lower; for the United States, it is the journalist and fiction author Lincoln Ross Colcord. Both men are worthy of study as individual isolationists of note, but they are also appropriate for the comparison because of the similarity of their isolationist positions and due to their personal backgrounds. Through the 1930s, Colcord and Lower publicized their support for foreign policies centered on unilateralism, neutrality, a limited but strictly prioritized national interest, and a potent fear of war. But at heart, they each had different ends based on their highest ideals for their respective countries.

The core of this project is to explore isolationism as an ideology of North American themes and national variations. Comparing an American and a Canadian example of this mindset also brings a broader perspective to a subject too commonly associated with the United States alone. The parallels between Colcord and Lower show that isolationist thinking was not an American possession, but that its reach extended to the other half of the continent as well.