Date of Award



© 2018 Cameron Armstrong

Document Type



Political Science

First Advisor

Brian Duff


This thesis delves into the rise of the ISIS Caliphate against the backdrop of the historical context of state formation. As ISIS attempted to form a nation state, which they deemed a Caliphate, due process must be given to understanding the brief life and death of this entity. Analyzing the writings of Jean Bodin, Thomas Hobbes, Lassa Oppenheim, and others will lay a foundation of the formation and obligations of states as applied to the 2014 rise of ISIS as a government. This discussion goes on to conclude potential countries that should take center stage while discussing the future of the international state system. Studying modern examples of fledgling states can help the international system better their guidelines for state recognition and make the global community safer, as well as more ethical for all.

ISIS is defined as the terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This group rose to international prominence in 2014 during their march toward the Iraqi city of Mosul. ISIS would go on to control a territory larger than Great Britain for a limited time, before international pressure from multiple factions diminished that territory.


Senior thesis