2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Democratic Transitions and the First Use of Violent Force
Ryan T. Conway
Dr. John Ishiyama, Faculty Mentor

There has been much scholarly debate concerning a phenomenon in International Relations literature called the “democratic peace;” this curious occurrence, briefly stated, is a lack of interstate wars between democratic states. Several scholars have argued that the deliberative nature of democracy – by virtue of conflict-mitigating internal characteristics – constrains the behavior of their leaders, preventing rash military actions from occuring. Despite the abundance of literature on the non-violence of democracies, most has focused on the conflict behavior of developed democratic states. Little has been written relating processes of democratization and relative conflict behaviors of previously authoritarian states. This project examines two questions: First, does the democratization of a previously authoritarian state make it less likely to first use violent force? Second, do different kinds of democratic transitions lead to different conflict behaviors? Samuel Huntington argued that one could identify different types of transitions, which lead to the emergence of different regimes.

Keywords: Democratization, Democracy, Democratic Peace

Topic(s):Political Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 44-1
Location: VH 1232
Time: 1:15

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