Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


International Relations


Philip Roessler

Committee Members

John Parman

Lawrence Wilkerson


Recent literature has argued that nonviolent political resistance campaigns are more effective at achieving their political goals than violent resistance campaigns. This paper examines the structural relationship between campaign goals, campaign setting (urban or rural), campaign type (violent or nonviolent), and campaign success. I argue that because nonviolent and violent campaigns often have different goals, nonviolent movements tend to form in urban areas critical to the regime, while violent movements tend to arise in non-threatening rural hinterlands. I support this theory with quantitative evidence by linking observations from two event-level datasets on conflict to a dataset on maximalist resistance campaigns. I find that correlations between nonviolence and success may instead be due to a relationship between campaign setting and success. I compliment the quantitative analysis with case studies of Iranian resistance campaigns since 1890. The results challenge the notion that nonviolent resistance can be a strategic substitute for violent resistance.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

On-Campus Access Only