Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History & Political Thought, Political Science Concentration (MA)

Committee Chair

Vergaray, Alfonso R.


The idea that patriotism can be reinforced through imagery and oration has been discussed by scholars within the political science literature. Film is one medium scholars have used to examine patriotic sentiments. In this thesis I provide an analysis of the Marvel Avengers film series (2008-2018), focusing on Captain America and Iron Man, and how each represents a different form of American patriotism. I argue that Captain America represents Lincolnian patriotism, which places an emphasis on a commitment to American ideals and the duty one has in upholding them. Iron Man, in contrast, represents the dominant tradition, which is centered on the narrowly self-interested individual and a belief in the benefits of technological advancement. I conclude noting the limitations to understanding Captain America and Iron Man as representatives of American patriotism. Ultimately, I hope to demonstrate how an analysis of these two superheroes in the Marvel Avengers film series helps scholars and viewers think critically about American patriotism.