Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Do democratic norms and political culture play a greater role than structural determinants in realizing a democratic peace? Alexis de Tocqueville, a hitherto unappreciated theorist of international politics, offered such a view 175 years ago. This article examines Tocqueville's perspective on civil-military relations and the connection between democracy and peace. Tocqueville concludes that the key to the pacifism of a democracy is the equality of conditions it enjoys and the education that its soldiers receive prior to entering the military. Thus, in Tocqueville's estimation, the democratic peace has little to do with the practice of democracy, and everything to do with the economic well-being and political virtue of its citizens.