Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

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Historical & Political Studies; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Geoffery Haywood


For my senior thesis project, I researched the CIA's LSD experiments on unwitting human subjects in the 1950s and early 1960s. I asked why the CIA carried out these experiments, what the impact on the victims was, and how the CIA was able to get away with breaking the law in this egregious way. These government-funded experiment were code-named MKULTRA. My thesis is that the CIA conducted these experiments as part of the American's Cold War struggle with world communism. This is also the reason why they were able to get away with these tests. The fallout for the human test subjects was often negative. It was not until the early 1970s, when American's distrust in the government was at an all time high, due to the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, that these experiments would come to the attention of the public. The congressionally appointed Church Commission researched the evidence, held hearings, and set up committees to monitor the treatment of human test subjects, all in order to prevent anything like this from happening again.