Peace as the Absence of Militarized Conflict: Comparing the Democratic and Territorial Peace

John A Vasquez, Emily E Barrett

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Peace has mostly been defined in terms of the absence of war. In this study we define peace between two countries as never resorting to the threat or use of militarized force. In technical terms, peace is neither side ever having a militarized interstate dispute (MID) with the other. This study tests two propositions. The first is that MID-free dyads consist of states that do not have territorial claims. The second is the democratic peace claim that MID-free dyads are those consisting of joint democracies. The relative impact of the territorial peace and democratic peace hypotheses are assessed. Based on the territorial explanation of war it is predicted that the first proposition will account for more cases of peace than the second proposition (on democracy). It is also predicted that a main reason joint democracies might be MID free is that they do not have territorial issues in the first place. This is due to the fact they have settled their border and territorial is-sues with their neighbors before they become joint democracies. All politically relevant dyads are compared on the basis of those that have never had a MID with those that have had at least one. The analysis is conducted on the 1946-1989 and 1990-2001 periods.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-31
JournalJournal of Territorial and Maritime Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2015


  • peace
  • militarized interstate disputes (MIDs)
  • territorial peace
  • democratic peace
  • MID onset


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