First Advisor

Richard A. Clucas

Term of Graduation

Summer 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Public interest -- United States, Pressure groups -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (151 pages)


Recent theories of interest group behavior have attempted to gain an understanding of how these groups mobilize for political action. However, these theories have led to account for a crucial aspect of public interest groups, a particularly important segment of the interest group universe. The purpose of this essay is to shed light on the ways that interest group theories must adapt if they are to better reflect this unique aspect of public interest group behavior. Specifically, it is necessary to acknowledge the role that a group"s ideas regarding shared American values play within the behavior of groups that seek to advance the public interest. The examination of two high-profile public interest organizations provides the basis for better understanding the roles of ideas in public interest behavior. By examining the ways that Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union utilize ideas to motivate action we can better understand how public interest groups set out to influence public policy.


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