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Paper Topic:

Is the `democratic peace` thesis a convincing theory, or a statistical artefact?

Is the `Democratic Peace ' thesis a convincing theory , or a statistical artefact

The Democratic Peace theory states that democratic states are less likely to wage war against each other , and that shared democratic procedures and ideals are apt to lead to less conflict


The origins of democratic pacifism ' can be traced back to Perpetual Peace , an essay written by philosopher Immanuel Kant (1795 . Kant had suggested that democracy or a republic with elected representatives would be one of the primary factors necessary for a stable equilibrium of global peace

p The democratic peace theory in its present form is based on the ideas expressed by Immanuel Kant , Jean Jacques Rousseau , and Woodrow Wilson (Mingst , 2004 . Woodrow Wilson and Roosevelt , as is evident from American foreign policy during their regimes , were heavily influenced by the idea of democratic peace

Mechanisms for Democratic Peace

Several mechanisms have been proposed as explanations of how democracy encourages peace . In the course of this , these mechanisms will be examined to understand whether they satisfactorily establish the link between the existence of democracy and a greater probability of peace

The most common explanation is the Consensus theory of democratic peace This theory explains that since democracies are built on consensus , and since common public opinion is , in most cases , against disruptive conflict or war , democracies are held back by the public opinion . In other words , the institutional constraints on the decisionmaking choices of democratic leaders make it difficult for them to use force in their foreign policies and act as a brake on conflict with other democracies (Henderson , 2002 ,

.4 ) Also the norms of non-violence and peaceful dispute resolution , which are fundamental to the democratic process , are supposedly projected outwards , that is , they are used by the democratic nation in all its dealings with other states

The second explanation of democratic peace claims that shared democratic procedures and ideals are apt to lead to less conflict with each other Two democratic countries , according to this explanation , apparently share a bond due to their common respect for representation of the people , and also for peaceful conflict resolution , because of which , war between them is not very probable . Democracies are apparently less disposed to fight each other due to the impact of their shared norms that proscribe the use of violence between them (Henderson , 2002 br

.4 . This proposed mechanism is also known as the theory of Common Culture

Consensus theory of Democratic Peace

Kant argued that , since an absolute prince can war "without the least sacrifice of the pleasures of his table , the chase , his country houses , his court functions , and the like , he will be likely to do so for light or trivial causes that the citizenry would never find sufficient (Kofman , 1996 . Therefore , in an autocracy a single person may spark off a war , and the stability of the nation depends on the temperament of the ruler . If he chooses to make war , no one has the authority to prevent him from...

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