Before dealing with any arguments that concerns the difference on behavior and qualities between democracies and the other forms of government, we might, as well first need to clarify what we should deal with such as the meaning and political structure of democratic form of government. Unlike the monarchy and dictatorship, the power in a democratic nation is not concentrated in a small group of people or institution that often monopolizes the control, but the power is decentralized into the masses – or the people has a strong voice in democracy.
Also, unlike the totalitarian, more freedom are given or offered to the citizens of democratic states. Such freedom includes the freedom of speech, right of having a formal education, voting and freedom to join a legal organization (www. historyguy. com). In other words, the core of every democratic state is their constituents and the primary goal of the leadership or the executive is to make them at a good hand in most of the times. The fact that the power lies in the people mainly suggested the inherent peaceful quality of a nation.
Though this may somehow be a rational case, the issue actually invites many critics to support or others to disprove the claim that democracies are more peaceful than others. For about three decades, many studies that seek and want to prove the validity or falsity of the argument have been conducted. Most of them said that it is just a response to the peace as defined by Immanuel Kant which considered the human nature of seeking peace to become happy (www. spiritus-temporis. com). Anyway, most of the researches are done for information sake, which is why it is considered empirical.
For now, it is better if we start with the internal or implicit justification of the peaceful qualities of democracies. According to Bruce Russett, the structure of democracy can be clearly understand through the two general parts that it incorporates, namely the decision-making qualities and the ethos or the cultural qualities. The decision-making qualities involve those that are vital in solving internal and external conflicts such as civil war. This is mainly based on the scientific studies and economic and political stand.
On the other hand, the ethos includes the love of freedom, justice and empathy that is inherent in the system. This is rooted to a somewhat more complicated concept of ethics (Muravchik, p. 2). The qualities therefore that are inherent in democratic states constitutes to the reaction of the whole state to keep peace or at least make the most out of it while in deal of conflicts. One major evidence that will certainly prove the argument that democracy is generally peaceful in nature has long been claimed, about more than 200 years ago, by Immanuel Kant.
His theory on “Democratic Peace” was well explored and actually studied until today. The state of freedom and the distribution of power lead to a higher satisfaction while the disputes only wages anger – this is one of the propositions in his theory (Gieseler, www. unc. edu). This would simply imply that democratic and peace comes hand in hand or they equivocally hold the same principle. By the previous evidences, a conflict may arise on the perception of the peace or better if we ask ourselves with how we can say that an interaction between two nations is peaceful.
What really are the standards that make one relation peaceful? For the sake of clarity and uniformity in context, further evidences will rely much on the peacefulness obtained or proven as the elimination or having no war against two entities involved in the interaction. As a continuation of the Democratic Peace theory, Kant noted that its birth has been influenced by two strong observations about democratic states and their effective response during wartime.
He had noted that democracies, as much as possible, will not allow themselves to enter the war against another democratic; and thus, in line with this, the second principle is that if there are more nations who are democratic or will become democratic, then there will be less violence in the world in general. Also, according to Muravchik in his article about the help of democratic nations in the prevention of nuclear war, he noted that democracies are slow to get angry but at the same time they are easily agree to compromise when there is conflict.
This again is still connected to the structural mechanism of democratic nations. One important and probably the strongest among all empirical data is the findings in the history of wars in the world and those that had participated in the wars. The highlight of this study that is published and headed by a professor of the University of Hawaii, Rudy Rummel, in 1997, is that of all wars from 1816 to 1991, no two democratic states fought against each other or there are no war listed with the participants on both sides that includes a democratic state (Gieseler, www.
unc. edu). The war as defined in his study is those military uprising that results to at least 1000 casualties. The previous proposition only concerns the relationship between two democracies. Though it may be enough to leave it that way since our only goal to provide evidence on the peaceful nature of the relationship between democracies, it is also worth studying if there are cases where democracies battle against non-democracies.
Well, the answer is simple “there are”; there are circumstances where democracy battles against non-democracy. Of about 400 wars listed in his study, about 44% or 155 wars are there that includes a democratic state or democracies in one side (www. spiritus-temporis. com). Thus, it is clear that more than half of those wars are fight between two non-democratic states. This study in history is a strong argument in answering our question. And since history can be cyclical, it will or it might be happening till present.