Department Chair

Andrew Nicholls, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Dept. of History and Social Studies Education

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

History, M.A.


History and Social Studies Education Department


Jean E. Richardson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History

Department Home page

First Reader

Kenneth S. Mernitz, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History


Buffalo, New York has undergone a precipitous decline in the postwar era, losing more than half its population and much of its economic base. The blame for this decline has traditionally fallen on failed government intervention, lack of quality local leadership, an overcompensated and under worked union workforce, environmental concerns, natural resource depletion, and oppressive taxes.

This study will focus on these various causes in an attempt to pinpoint the reasons for decline, not for the purpose or laying blame, but to set the groundwork for possible solutions that will stem the decline. The methodology for this study includes an examination into the roots of the decline of Buffalo and the past attempts to reverse it. Using census data, state and city transportation reports, federal grant reports, interviews, city budget data, news articles and other primary sources, the study will narrow from the broad picture presented by the experts listed in the secondary sources.

The research for this thesis suggests that the emphasis placed on the negative effects of organized labor, and taxes have been over exaggerated, while the effects of poor race relations, faulty leadership, the automobile, and limitations on immigration have been understated. Exposing these discrepancies may lead to more effective solutions.

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