• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why do Liberals think Democracy can Prevent War

Extracts from this document...


Why do liberals think democracy can prevent war? What are the limits to their view? Liberals believe democracy can prevent war because they believe that the nature of democratic state is less belligerent than that of more authoritarian and totalitarian forms of government. Since democracy adheres to the principles of popular sovereignty and majority rule in which authority is vested in the people (or their representatives) and a majority is needed to make decisions, agreement on a decision such as deciding if to wage war is not easy and is subject to debate, not to the whims of a monarch or a dictator. Immanuel Kant (1795), a very influential 18th century German philosopher and political thinker, explained this line of reasoning in his essay "Perpetual Peace": If the consent of the people is required in order to decide that war should be declared, nothing is more natural than that they would be very cautious in commencing such a poor game, [ . . . ...read more.


Liberals believe democracies don't fight each other because of their belief in the "democratic peace theory", first formulated by Kant (1795) in "Perpetual Peace". Kant's (1795) theory stated that a majority of the people would never vote to go to war, unless in self-defense. Therefore, if all nations were republics, it would end war, because there would be no aggressors. (as cited in Doyle, 1983, p. 84) Alternate explanations have been proposed since, but the modern theory is principally the empirical claim that democracies rarely or never fight. Although there are few minor exceptions to the theory, such as the Spanish-American War in the late 19th century or the Kargil War between India and Pakistan in the late 20th century, history shows the theory to be very accurate. As in the case of WWII, the countries with democratic governments, which were the Allied Powers, collectively fought against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperialist Japan. ...read more.


Economic interdependence is another significant reason as to why democracies don't go to war with each other. Since democratic states are strong states economically, they acknowledge that to maintain their wealth, they need the trade they interact with other nations - especially other democratic strong states. They cannot do so in a state of hostility or outright war. In the words of 19th century French economist Frederik Bastiat, '"If goods cannot cross borders, armies will."'(As cited in Jervis, 2008, p. 385) Countries prefer to bolster their economic and political wealth through peaceful means, but that doesn't mean that they won't resort to violent means to achieve those ends. This is how the democratic peace theory postulated by liberal theorists is limited: Democracies would fight each other if it is absolutely necessary. Even though democracies waging war against each other has been a rare occurrence throughout history and is always unlikely, there's always the possibility that two democratic states could have some lesser military conflict, if not full-out war. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Malta at the turn of the 19th Century.

    On the 2nd September 1798, we had the Maltese uprising against the French. In fact this entire rebel started at Mdina, with the murdering of a French auctioneer. Than the French were confronted at harassment by people from Zebbug and Attard, that went to Mdina passing through Siggiewi.

  2. Free essay

    Women's contribution to the war

    Women must have being doing something right during 1939-45 for them to be granted this. They must have made a big enough impact between 1939-45 as all women today are permitted to join their own trade unions in their work.

  1. Define Politics and democracy in your own words

    My view is that politics is how different parties believe the county should be run, how different political views change how different people feel on politics, e.g. The old labour party had the views for the working man and the unions, and the conservatives was for the business man, but

  2. A Modernizing Monarch

    Liberal reform had barely advanced, and in industry Russia trailed Britain, France, and Germany. Although most Russian citizens were loyal to the Russian nation, the people were internally divided along class and ideological lines. The resulting social and political unrest eventually ended tsarist rule.

  1. American Democracy: An Ongoing Experiment

    This was in obvious reference to slavery, but has carried over through generations. Those who remained in the United States government, but did not agree with the Republicans formed an opposing party. Those with radical opinions, however, decided to exit the union rather than work within it to accomplish change.

  2. A new democracy will face many difficulties in deciding its new Governmental structure.

    For example, if the President wishes to invade another country, he must ask permission of Congress in order to commit troops, (the exception is however that the President may, under expedient circumstances commit troops for a limited period of time under the War Powers Act 1973)

  1. Is Legalization a Realistic Alternative to the War on Marijuana?

    Because of the hullabaloo surrounding the plant, widespread cultivation of hemp has been deterred. The crop and its products are government regulated which in turn prohibits private parties from growing the plant. Perhaps one of the strongest arguments for marijuana legalization can be made based on the alternatives the plant provides.

  2. Notes on Citizenship and Democracy.

    Technology>Development in technology brought the furthest places near each other. Example air travel brought the furthest place reachable in less then 24 hours and media brings news from all over the place in your room. 1. Unfortunately such development was used in an incorrect way.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work