Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

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

Committee Chair

Blackwell, Deborah L.


This study examines the impact of the War on Poverty on Laredo, Texas with the notion of Laredo exceptionalism due to its homogeneous population and culture. Primary source material was drawn mainly from articles found in the Laredo Times and interviews with Laredoans that were either associated with the War on Poverty or the Independent Club within the city. Secondary sources were used mainly to identify the motives, development, and challenges that the War on Poverty faced outside of Laredo. This study has discovered that the War on Poverty was able to achieve a greater degree of success by being able to focus on purely economic issues without the entanglement of racial issues common in other parts of the United States. Ultimately, the War on Poverty in Laredo was able to perpetuate and enhance a degree of social activism against an established political machine and thereby contributing to the collapse of the machine a decade later. This study insists that the successes and failures of the War on Poverty cannot be applied uniformly throughout the United States as each individual community developed its own unique approach to the poverty issue and each found its own unique challenges.