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Penn Professor to Lecture on War and Democracy

Does the spread of democracy really lead to international peace? On Thursday, March 20, Edward Mansfield, the University of Pennsylvania's Hum Rosen Professor of Political Science, will address the question in a talk titled "Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War." The lecture, hosted by Bryn Mawr's Center for the Social Sciences and the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, will be presented at 4:15 p.m. in Thomas 224; it is free and open to the public.

"Electing to Fight" will draw from a book of the same name co-authored by Mansfield and his colleague Jack Snyder, who argue that emerging democracies with weak political institutions are especially likely to go to war. Drawing on cases from revolutionary France to contemporary Russia, Mansfield demonstrates that political leaders in these democracies attempt to rally political support by invoking external threats and resorting to belligerent, nationalistic rhetoric. Because the risk of conflict in new weak democracies is high until democracy is consolidated, Mansfield and Snyder argue that the best way to promote democracy is to build the institutions that democracy requires—such as the rule of law—before encouraging mass participation and elections.

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Posted 3/6/2008 by Claudia Ginanni