Civil liberties in America: A study of American attitudes before and after 9/11



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis seeks to interpret the attitudes of Americans regarding civil liberties and Muslims following September 11th, 2001 as a moral panic, using the theories of Cohen, Goode and Ben-Yehuda, and Alexander. Consensus as an essential element of moral panic was measured using data from the General Social Survey concerning attitudes towards the restriction of civil liberties before and after 2001. Hostility and consensus of opinion towards Muslims was also measured with the General Social Survey to determine the presence of a "Folk Devil" in a moral panic. Broadly defined, consensus for the restriction of civil liberties did not exist between liberals and conservatives following 2001. Hostility towards Muslims was also not found through the analyses.



Civil rights, Ideology, Muslims, September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001, Terrorism, Moral panics, Social sciences philosophy