Undergraduate Research Journal


Tanner Butler


On January 6th, there was a riot at the Capitol of the United States where protestors attempted to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election. While attempting this, the protestors took over the halls of Congress. This study will be looking at what is causing people to support this political violence. The focus will be to see if people's beliefs that the protestors were within the right to rebel that John Locke lays out in his social contract theory are important for explaining the support for the riot. Survey data provided the basis for statistical analysis that demonstrated a strong connection between belief in the right to rebel and support for the riot. Knowing this, we have a better understanding of why people support political violence. Along with the importance of the normative justification of the right to rebel. The idea that there will be a connection between people supporting political violence and believing the perpetrators are within the right to rebel could be applied to other acts of political violence both in the United States and abroad.



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