Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

Document Type



This dissertation examines how media attention and domestic opposition parties affect third-party intervention in foreign civil wars. Previous research defines some of the ways that political executives in democratic states are constrained in their choice of actions, while also pointing out the influences and limitations of outside actors. This dissertation builds on existing research pertaining to opposition parties and the news media by providing new theories on how these outside actors can push a leader in taking an action he otherwise might not take, such as intervening in a foreign civil war. Using newly collected data, I argue that the news media brings increased salience to political topics that may be overlooked by the public, which pressures political executives into intervening when their leadership is questioned. I also argue that the domestic opposition will challenge the leadership when action is not taken, compelling the executive into action. Analysis of news articles and editorials from three prominent U.S. newspapers, as well as proposed legislative bills and plenary speeches in the U.S. Congress, shows that increased attention and pressure on U.S. presidents makes civil conflict intervention more likely. This research contributes to the field of study by showing that outside actors can effectively push political executives into taking action.



Committee Chair

Clare, Joseph