Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

Major Professor

Gill C. Evans

Committee Members

T. Alexander Smith, Harry M. Lindquist


The purpose of this study was to define and examine the main sources of political instability and stability which existed in Iran between 1779 and 1973. The magnitude of the political, social, and economic changes in Iran during this period fostered an atmosphere in which the elements of both instability and stability prevailed.

The study dealt with four distinct political periods. The first period examined was that of the Qajar Dynasty (1779-1925). The second period dealt with was the modernization of Iran under Reza Shah (1926-1941). The third period discussed was the early segment of the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah (1941-1953). The fourth period covered was the strengthened rule of Mohammad Reza Shah (1953-1973). The concluding segment of this study summarized the principal sources of political instability and stability in Iran which prevailed during the aforementioned periods. The conclusion also examined the theory of leadership in relation to the Shah of Iran.

It was found that all of the political periods examined in this study exhibited a combination of the elements of political instability and stability, with the exception of the period between 1963 and 1973, which was a truly stable period.

It was the conclusion of this thesis that the period between 1963 and 1973 was the only period in which signs of permanent political stability were exhibited. The stabilization of the political arena in this period was achieved as a result of the viable leadership of Mohammad Reza Shah, and his implementation of the reforms of the "White Revolution."

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