Graduate Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

Spring 2020

Thesis Director

Edmund F. Wehrle

Thesis Committee Member

Roger B. Beck

Thesis Committee Member

Sace E. Elder


This project examines the United States-Ghana relationship and how the relationship transformed Ghana, 1957-1966. African leaders such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had declared: "That new Africa is ready to fight its own battles and show that after all, the black man is capable of managing his affairs." Despite the non-alignment philosophy, Ghana was not neutral regarding the West and East blocs rivalry. The thesis argues that it was through the United States' government and private firms' contributions that Ghana was able to achieve the mark of a modern nation through industrialization, universal education, and the expansion of international trade economy.

The United States government and the Kaiser company, a private firm, contributed to the development of the Volta River Project, which increased industrial activities in Ghana through the production of hydroelectric energy needed to supply electricity for households and industries. In the end, the project benefited both the United States and Ghana as Ghana moved towards modernization while the Kaiser Company maximized profit, and the United States government was able to counter the Soviets expansion in Ghana. President John F. Kennedy's Peace Corps and Cornell University’s programs expanded the Ghanaian education system by increasing enrolment, the number of graduates, and shaped most Ghanaians for a white-collar job. Ghana-American relations increased trade activities through the exchange of trade products. America's organization of the biggest Trade Fair in Ghana in 1961 helped Ghanaians to learn new skills, to acquire techniques in operating trade equipment, and to recognize the importance of private and smaller firms in the national economy. This research fills a significant gap in the historiography by examining the political, social, and economic interactions between Ghana and America. It as well discusses governmental and private organizations' roles together with how personal relations among statesmen transformed Ghana into a modernized country.