Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Prior to September 11, 2001, the United States was perceived as a predominant, nearly untouchable power. The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War spelled the end of a bi-polar world and the beginning of the age of a single global superpower. The twentieth century was “the American century [. . .] not only in military, but also in economic, technological, and even cultural terms” (Krastev 5).However, in the years since September 11, hostility towards the United States has increased drastically.“Three years on, it seems that we are all anti-Americans.Hostility to the United States is deeper and broader than at any point in the last fifty years” (Zakaria 1). This increasing anti-Americanism can be seen around the globe, and has spurred lengthy journalistic and academic inquiries within the United States focused on “why they hate us,” often without a specific definition of who they are or a definition of anti-American attitudes.While the lack of existing empirical research and the potential for furthering stereotypes are obvious deterrents from this type of research, examining anti-American attitudes on an individual level cross-nationally can provide preliminary answers to these important questions.

This paper will examine demographic and attitudinal information from around the world and address empirically why individuals seem to be increasingly anti-American. By shedding light on individual traits that contribute to anti-Americanism, policy makers may be able to develop strategies to target the root causes of anti-American attitudes. Examining these questions from an empirical perspective provides theoretical and practical support for policy decisions and may introduce more complete answers to questions regarding attitudes, terrorism, and global cohesion than questions asked and answered rhetorically on the evening news.