Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Bean, Jonathan


This paper examines the evolution of government policy through Congressional debate and citizen involvement on the topic of Agent Orange. Use of primary sources from newspaper and journal articles, Congressional records, scientific studies, and press releases and some secondary literature by scholars from multiple disciplines builds a picture of the ongoing debate of Agent Orange and its two component herbicides from circa 1940 to 1991. Within this paper are four primary focuses, divided into three parts. First, the Congressional discussions prior to 1970 of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, the two herbicides that comprise Agent Orange. Second and third, discussed in the same section, the involvement of the scientific community and the ratification of the Geneva Protocol. Lastly, the movement after the Vietnam War for veteran benefits due to Agent Orange exposure.




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