Submission Date


Document Type



International Relations


Anne Karreth

Committee Member

Johannes Karreth

Committee Member

Scott Burns

Committee Member

Anne Karreth

Department Chair

Jonathan Marks

Project Description

The research question that this thesis seeks to answer is: in what ways do liberation movements impact a nation’s experience with democratic consolidation after conflict ends? When the rebel organization is relatively weaker than the state, the state can control their actions. The liberation movement will not be able to manipulate the state, but will be able to impose costs on status quo maintenance. This will then lead the two parties to form a democratic pact and negotiate, resulting in the organization’s increased preference for democratic methods in the future. However, when the liberation movement and the state have relatively equal strength, the organization will be able to impose its will on the state and drastically increase the costs the government incurs to maintain the status quo. This will then lead the state to quickly end the conflict through negotiations where the liberation movement will be able to manipulate the government into conceding to their terms. The fact that the organization achieved its outcome goals through the use of violence will cement those methods once the organization becomes an institutionalized political party. This theory is tested using a comparative case study of the wars for liberation in South Africa and Zimbabwe. In the case of the ANC in South Africa, the liberation movement was largely controlled by the state, but the organization was still able to impose costs for status quo maintenance. This then resulted in the government’s desire to end the conflict while still in a position of authority. This necessitated the ANC to utilize diplomatic and democratic methods to achieve power. In the war for liberation in Zimbabwe, ZANU/ZAPU forces were able to affect the stability of the nation that resulted in the government’s decision to concede to the terms of the group. This allowed the organization to become an institutionalized political party that consolidated authority once in power.