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Are Democratic States More Peaceful?

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Democratic states are perceived to be more peaceful because “democracies do not attack each other.” The proposition that democracies never (or rarely; there is a good deal of variation about this) go to war against one another has nearly become a truism. Since Michael Doyle’s essay in 1983 pointed out that no liberal democracy has ever fought a war with another democracy , scholars have treated pacifism between as democracies, “as closest thing we have to an empirical law in international relations.” The democratic peace proposition encourages hope for a new age of international peace. Over the years since Michael Doyle’s essay a lot of literature has been written about “democratic peace theory”. A lot of analysis has focused on the claim- that liberal democracies do not fight each one another. There is a lot of action- reaction sequence in the academic arguments. As an idea catches on it accumulates adherents. The more popular an idea, there is more likehood of a critical reaction that raises serious and strong reservations about the validity of the new idea. In this essay, I would like to examine the claim- that democratic states are more peaceful as democracy causes peace. In this essay I draw on the writings of John M. Owen, Michael Doyle, Christopher Layne, Mansfield and Snyder, Alexander Wendt, Robert Keohane and Lisa Martin for their views on why democracies do not fight one another and then deduce my own conclusions.

Why Liberalism believes that democratic states are more peaceful?

Liberalism is universalistic and tolerant. It believes that all persons share fundamental interest in self preservation and material well being. Each individual must be allowed to follow hi s or her own preferences as long as they do not d...

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25. Markus Fischer, “Feudal Europe, 800-1300: Communal Discourse and Conflictual Practices”, International Organization Vol. 46, No.2 (Spring 1992), pp. 427-466.

26. Louis Henkin, How Nations Behave (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1979),

27. Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy is what states make of it: The social construction of power politics,” International Organization, Vol. 46, No. 2 (spring, 1992), pp. 391-425

28. Richard Ashley , “Geopolitics of Geopolitical Space: Toward a Critical Social Theory of International Politics”, Alternatives Vol. 12, No. 4 (October 1987), pp.403-434

29. Alexander Wendt, “Collective Identity Formation and the International State”, The American Political Science Review , Vol. 88, No. 2 (Jun., 1994), pp. 384-396

30. John J. Mearsheimer “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security, Vol. 19, No.
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