The Macalester Review


Often the first goal of many modern revolutions is “internationalizing the conflict.’’ Yet as the recent revolutions and revolts in Egypt and Tunisia illustrate, the international system plays a powerful yet under-recognized role in these conflicts from their inception to their conclusion. Through examinations of three early 20th century revolutions, , the Young Turk Revolution (1908), the Algerian Decolonization Movement (1954-1962), and the Iranian Revolution (1979), this piece explores the significant role of the international system in creating a “context” for revolution through direct foreign involvement in a state, changes to the international opportunity structures, and the polarization of the international sphere. These studies reveal the variety of ways that the international system can influence a revolution at a level on par with, if not surpassing, domestic influences. These three revolutions were global conflicts, a condition that has far reaching implications for not just the revolutions under consideration, but all future revolutions, as our world enters the realm of (post) globalization.