The purpose of this thesis is to use qualitative methods of inquiry to investigate the role that political ideology plays in a successful revolution. Within the thesis, I use Marxism and Maoism as primary independent variables and the successful revolutionary movement as a dependent variable; whereas the Bolshevik movement within the Russian Revolution and Peruvian Shining Path are used as case studies. Why did the Bolsheviks in Russia succeed while the Shining Path in Peru failed? I argue that the Bolsheviks' Marxist-Leninism led them to have strong ties with masses, whereas Shining Path's Maoism made it too elitist. Opposed to purely structural or institutional theories, it is my intention to explore the theoretical claims of ideology and human agency within revolution. I suggest that doing so will help to better understand the development of revolution and revolutionary theory.