Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Erica Chenoweth, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Oliver Kaplan

Third Advisor

Hava Gordon


Civil resistance, Democracy, Elections, Political violence, Protest, Revolution


Several recent studies indicate that revolutions of non-violent civil resistance lead to more democratic and peaceful political transitions than either violent revolutions or elite-led political transitions. However, this general trend has not been disaggregated to explain the many prominent cases where nonviolent revolutions are followed by authoritarianism or civil war. Understanding these divergent cases is critical, particularly in light of the problematic transitions following the "Arab Spring" revolutions of 2011. In this paper I explain why nonviolent revolutions sometimes lead to these negative outcomes. I show, through quantitative analysis of a dataset of all successful non-violent revolutions from 1900-2006 and comparative case studies of the revolutions in Egypt and Yemen, that the mechanism of success whereby the non-violent revolution achieves its goals, such as an negotiation, election, or coup d'etat, has a significant impact on the likelihood of democracy and civil war. Most centrally, mechanisms which involve pre-transition capacity-building, civil resistance campaign initiative, and broad political consensus are significantly more likely to lead to democracy and peace. This research has powerful implications for understanding both the options available to non-violent activists seeking revolutionary goals and the choices likely to lead to optimal outcomes during the post-revolutionary transition.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jonathan Pinckney


Recieved from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

238 p.


International relations, Political Science, Peace studies