Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Edward Kissi


Burkina Faso, Marxist Revolutions in West Africa, Political Science in West Africa, Sub Saharan African History, Thomas Sankara, West African Political History


Abstract (from thesis text)

From Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, is the study of the politics of reaction and reform in a post-colonial nation-state of Burkina Faso. Since its independence from France on 5 August 1960 to 15 October 1987, Burkina Faso, the "land of the upright" people, has experience five changes in government. All of the coups that took place in this twenty-seven year period were reactionary and reforming. However, the most memorable reforms arrived after the coup of 4 August 1983 which gave rise to a youthful president in a thirty-three year old Captain Thomas Sankara. As the leaders before him, Sankara reacted against a post-colonial government that he and supporters saw as inadequate. Unlike the previous coups in the Upper Volta, this work argues that the 4 August 1983 coup brought class consciousness to the forefront. It aimed to establish its identity by changing the country's name from the colonial name of Upper Volta to Burkina Faso. The revolutionaries appeared to be g6enuine in meeting their words with action by working to create self-sufficient citizens, curb environmental depredation, combat corruption in government and provide women more opportunities. Though the Revolution in Burkina Faso (1983-1987) did not end the country's ambitions for a multi-party democracy, it did elevate the status of women, literacy, mortality and pride for the homeland.