While it is commonly argued the prior regime type influences regime breakdown outcomes during contested transitions of power, the observed disparity between two countries with identical prior regime types and distinct post-breakdown results poses a significant challenge to the existing theories. This thesis navigates into the complexities inherent in the post-breakdown sphere by examining how different modes of regime breakdowns can impact the level and duration of state violence instigated by the incoming regime after the breakdown. Developing a theoretical model that compares and contrasts the political environments created after military coups and popular uprisings, this thesis argues that regimes arising from a military coup are more prone to perpetuate violence in the short and long term compared to regimes emerging from a popular uprising. It then tests the argument using cross-sectional data between 1900 and 2013. Regimes that emerge after breakdowns facilitated by military coups are found to exhibit higher levels of violence compared to those emerging from popular uprisings when the level of state violence is assessed one year after the breakdown. This pattern is consistent even when the level of state violence is assessed five years post-breakdown. However, the analysis reveals that the impact of the mode of breakdown on state violence diminishes over time, becoming less pronounced when tested ten years after the breakdown. Through a lens of realpolitik, this thesis provides a contextualized perspective on the quantitative findings by illustrating the sequence of events surrounding the 2011 popular uprising and the consequential 2013 military coup in Egypt and examining the different levels of violence instigated by the Morsi regime following the uprising and the El-Sisi regime in post-coup Egypt.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Political Science Department

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

Graduation Date

Summer 6-15-2024

Submission Date


First Advisor

Mostafa Hefny

Committee Member 1

Oliver Schlumberger

Committee Member 2

Sean Lee


154 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item