The idea of a liberal democratic peace

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An impressive literature has developed in recent years dealing with the topic of a liberal democratic peace. A debate has been conducted in North American and British political science journals such as International Security, American Political ScienceReview, Comparative Political Studies and Review of International Studies about the validity of the hypothesis that the growth in the number of states with liberal-democratic polities will lead to a more stable and harmonious international order. In the literature on democratic peace Kant has been much referred to: it is true to say that he has become an emblem of the thesis. This is so to such an extent that authors need only cite Kant in their title to show that they are engaging with the debate. Others make play with Kant’s name to demonstrate their topicality such as Christopher Layne’s title to his article ‘Kant or cant: The Myth of the Democratic Peace’ in International Security. 19 (1994). Accordingly we shall follow through the liberal-democratic peace thesis here in terms of the three main principles laid down in Kant’s seminal essay Perpetual Peace.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Edinburgh Companion to contemporary Liberalism
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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