Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2023

Department 1

Political Science


Instances where an actor is experiencing a significant gain in power or is watching the power they once had slowly slip away seem like breeding grounds for conflict. This gives rise to the question: What effect does the rapid rise or decline of a significant actor’s power in the international system have on the likelihood that a system-changing war will occur? The basis of my answer to this question lies in both the power transition theory and the theory of hegemonic war. By critically analyzing the two aforementioned theories, addressing scholarly critiques of these theories, and making predictions about a prominent contemporary rising power, China, I will attempt to shed light on the hypothesis that system-changing wars are more likely to occur when a major actor experiences a rapid shift in power in either direction.


Written for POL 103: Introduction to International Relations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.