Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Political Science (POLS)

First Advisor

Dr. Feryal Cherif


Political violence is seldom viewed as an appropriate means to achieving a goal. Despite extensive studies produced on the reasons for using political violence, the scholarly world fails to consider comparing why some groups choose violence while their counterparts do not. Why is violence such an attractive method to some organized political groups, but not to others? Drawing on case studies of liberation movements, I attempt to understand what impacts the outcome of political violence during these movements. This study cross examines the Algerian Independence War with India’s nonviolent independence movement and the nonviolent independence movement of East Timor with the West Papua independence conflict in an attempt to answer why some independence movements are violent while others are not and what explains the differences in these outcomes. It is concluded via this study that cases utilizing political violence either had international allies that were non-influential: impoverished nations, largely located in the Global South, that have no substantial impact in the international world. In contrast, the nonviolent cases were able to garner international support from the Global North: nations that have immense power, sizable influence on international politics, and the ability to positively impact the liberation movement and its goal.