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In: A Concise Encyclopedia of the United Nations

The idea that the domestic structure of states structures their international behaviour, especially that democracies are more peaceful than other ways of government, can be traced back to Immanuel Kant. In the First World War, it became part of Woodrow Wilson’s program and influenced the peace process. The high water mark of this “democratic peace” thesis came up after the Second World War. American political scientists constructed and tried to prove several versions of this theory. But the notion that the spread of democracy would create a more peaceful international order also became part of Western foreign policy approaches. Democratic Peace theory and its political application formed a growing interrelationship, which became not only part of the rhetoric, but also practical foreign policy, especially in the era of US president Bill Clinton. This chapter critiques the different versions of the democratic peace theory and attempts to outline more differentiated models of the preconditions for interstate peace.

In: Civilizing Missions in the Twentieth Century