[First published February 22, 2005] One of the problems that people have in writing about the democratic peace is understanding what it covers and the best sources for reading about it. Here are the five major empirical propositions of the democratic peace, which have been the basis of American foreign policy.
- Democracies don’t make war on each other.
- The more democratic a nation, the less its foreign violence.
- The more democratic a nation, the less its internal violence.
- The more democratic a nation, the less it murders its own citizens (democide).
- Democracy is a method of nonviolence.
These are perhaps the most important proposition in contemporary social science, for they show that we have a solution to war and democide, and a way of minimizing political violence.
But, then, what are the sources? I just put on my website a comprehensive bibliography of pro and con papers, articles, and books on the first and second democratic peace propositions above (link here). [link also in sidebar] These propositions are usually considered the core ideas of the democratic peace, but narrowly define it. The other propositions generalize the democratic peace to domestic violence and have been much less investigated. Eventually, I hope to prepare a separate bibliography on them.
Following are among the most important books on the democratic peace.
Kant, Immanuel. Perpetual Peace. 1795.
Moore, John Norton. Solving The War Puzzle: Beyond The Democratic Peace, Carolina Academic Press, 2004.
Ray, James Lee. Democracy and International Conflict: An Evaluation Of The Democratic Peace Proposition. Columbia, SC: University Of South Carolina Press, 1995.
Rummel, R. J. Power Kills: Democracy As A Method Of Nonviolence. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1997.
Russett, Bruce, Grasping The Democratic Peace: Principles For A Post-Cold War World, Princeton U. Press, 2001.
Weart, Stewart, Never At War: Why Democracies Will Not Fight One Another. Yale U. Press, 1998.
Singer, Max, and Aaron Wildavsky. The Real World Order: Zones Of Peace/Zones Of Turmoil. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers, 1993.
For an overview, which although outdated is useful for its coverage, see:
Ray, James Lee. “Does Democracy Cause Peace?” Annual Review Of Political Science, Edited By Nelson W. Polsby, 1998 (link here).
Anyone who wants to write an informed commentary on the democratic peace must at least be familiar with theses studies.
Link of Note
”Why Democracy” (2/11/05) By Victor Davis Hanson
“Yet for all its uncertainties and dangers in the Islamic Arab world, there remain some undeniable facts about democracy across time and space that suggest with effort and sacrifice it can both work in the Middle East and will be in the long-term security interests of the United States. So why exactly should we support the daunting task of democratizing the Middle East and how is it possible?”