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  • Warlike DemocraciesAuthor(s): John Ferejohn and Frances McCall RosenbluthSource: The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb., 2008), pp. 3-38Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27638593 .Accessed: 27/09/2013 11:18

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  • Warlike Democracies John Ferejohn Department of Political Science, Stanford University, Stanford, California Frances McCall Rosenbluth

    Department of Political Science, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

    Classical republican theories are monadic in the sense of seeing in each political regime a set of typical operating characteristics. There is disagreement as to what those charac

    teristics are and specifically whether republican governments are more likely to be agg ressive or peace loving. We group these two views as (democratic) mobilization theory versus (republican) checks theory and argue, first, that each can help us understand the

    finer structure of republican government; second, that they are not contradictory but can

    be combined in various ways in the same institutions; and third, that they offer the pro

    spect of deepening our understanding of what is called the democratic peace proposition.

    Keywords: Machiavelli; Kant; democratic peace; mobilization

    1. Introduction

    Long before the current "age of democracy," political commentators from Thu

    cydides and Polybius to Machiavelli and Kant advanced arguments about the

    Authors' Note: We thank Bruce Russett for his generosity in sharing data from his research on the Pelo

    ponnesian War, and for helpful comments on several versions of this paper. We also thank Emily Mackil, Ian Morris, Josh Ober, Pasquale Pasquino, Walter Scheidel, and Barry Strauss for participating in a workshop on War and Politics in Ancient Greece on December 5-6, 2004; Mary Beard, Tim Cornell,

    William Harris, Andrew Lintott, Wilfried Nippel, and Nate Rosenstein for a workshop on War and Poli

    tics in Republican Rome on March 20-21, 2005; and Bill Caferro, Sam Cohn, Steven Epstein, Pasquale

    Pasquino, Christine Shaw, and David Wootton for a workshop on War and Politics in Medieval and

    Early Modern Italian City Italian city-states on December 14-15, 2005. We are grateful to the Bellagio Study and Conference Center of the Rockefeller Foundation for supporting the Italian city-states work

    shop and to the Georg W. Leitner Program and the Yale Center for International and Area Studies for

    financial support that made the workshops possible. Alisa Ardito, Michelle Tolman-Clarke, Curtis

    Eastin, Erica Franklin, Bryan Gervais, Harris Mylonas, and Sandy Henderson provided able research

    assistance, and Mario Chacon was an excellent statistical assistant and consultant. We also thank

    Kenneth Arrow, Gary Cox, Robert Dahl, Keith Darden, Shigeo Hirano, Istvan Hont, Bob Keohane,

    Joseph LaPalombara, John McCormick, Kevin Quinn, Dan Reiter, Chuck Sabel, Kenneth Schultz, Ian

    Shapiro, Jim Vreeland, (dear, late) Michael Wallerstein, Barry Weingast, David Weinstein, and partici pants in the Political Economy Colloquium at the Hoover Institution in 2006 for helpful comments. Data are available in the appendices, and in digital form at http://jcr.sagepub.com/supplemental.

    Journal of Conflict Resolution Volume 52 Number 1

    February 2008 3-38 ? 2008 Sage Publications


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  • 4 Journal of Conflict Resolution

    qualities of "republican" government that might affect their war-making capacity and posture relative to those of autocratic or oligarchic polities. Their arguments are monadic, in the sense that they describe attributes of republics that are thought to affect their foreign policy behavior, regardless of the circumstances in which

    they find themselves or the other polities with which they interact. Modern scholar

    ship on democratic foreign policy has lost touch with some of this early thinking, particularly the Machiavellian view of republican warlikeness, but it has ignored the monadic elements of Kant's theory as well. We argue that, in fact, modern

    democratic republics have attributes that cut in different directions. This helps make sense of the seemingly contradictory findings from the democratic peace literature that democracies tend to forbear against each other while making effec tive use of muscle elsewhere (Lake 1992; Reiter and Stam 2002; Biddle and Long 2004; Schultz and Weingast 2003).l

    In this article, we evaluate theories of democracy and cluster them into two

    groups, the first of which we call Kantian, and the second, Machiavellian. We derive these labels from the writings of Kant and Machiavelli, of course, but the labels are meant to capture a stylization of central arguments of these great thinkers

    rather than to provide a full exegetical account of their work. We take Kantian institutions to stand roughly for the idea of checked or mixed governmental power that, among other things, could inject caution or deliberateness into foreign policy decision making. Machiavellian or neoclassical theory stands for the idea that enfranchisement may increase the likelihood of winning wars by drawing more

    fully on societal resources. In the end, we conclude that neither variety of monadic

    democracy theory provides conclusive foreign policy predictions because modern democracies combine elements of both Kantian and Machiavellian logics. Indeed, turning the causal logic around, we might speculate that the standard shape of the

    modern democratic republic, which combines mass franchise with institutional checks, arose in the context of centuries of interstate competition in which well

    mobilized but duly deliberate societies enjoyed a survival advantage. The scholarly literature has begun to point out that "democracy" is a complex

    concept that agglomerates a range of institutional and other features with separate effects on foreign policy decision making (Prins and Sprecher 1999; Clark 2000; Reiter and Tillman 2002; Chan and Leblang 2003; Howell and Pevehouse 2007). In this article, we join this endeavor to unpack the institutional bases of political regimes, focusing on two dimensions that can be compared across wide swaths of

    time and place: "Kantian" institutional checks, which count the number of collec

    tive veto players in a political system; and "Machiavellian" political inclusivity, which we define as the effective franchise, or the proportion of the population that can influence decisions about war and peace and the distribution of the spoils and costs of war. As we elaborate in the following section, institutional checks include not only horizontal checks or "separation of powers," but also what we call a verti

    cal check, or representation, allowing us to distinguish between direct and indirect

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  • Ferejohn, Rosenbluth / Warlike Democracies 5

    democracies. We argue that both kinds of "republican" checks instill caution in

    foreign policy and work in the opposite direction from political inclusivity that Machiavelli theorized to enhance war-fighting capacity.2

    We therefore separate democracy in the strict sense?typified by the Athenian form of direct rule by popular assemblies and lottery-selected magistrates?from modern democratic states, which exhibit vertical and sometimes horizontal checks and a wide franchise. The Athenian state was based on a fairly small franchise by modern standards but also contained few institutional checks on what the popular assembly could do in matters of peace and war.3 Republican Rome had a wider franchise but also more checks. Modern democratic states differ similarly: the United States since the Civil Rights era has a wide franchise with many checks, while modern Britain has a wide franchise with few checks. On the issue of how the popular influence is expressed, Athens and Rome are on one side, with direct

    popular influence expressed in popular assemblies; and Britain and the United States are on the other, with popular influence working through representatives, which Kant regarded as perhaps the most effective kind of check on popular impulses. By differentiating among political institutions along these dimensions,

    we are able to theorize about and test these attributes separately, at least in princi

    ple. Rather than seeing a single effect of democratic republics, we argue that politi cal regime characteristics can generate countervailing effects. Moreover, in

    countries that have these attributes in different combinations, we expect to see dif

    ferent patterns of o