Oligarchs, Democrats and Rebels
Because of their broader participation and rational, egalitarian culture, Republics are said by Kant, Tocqueville and Schumpeter to be reluctant to fight, especially against other Republics. Nevertheless, Britain went to war against her American colonies in 1776; the United States declared war on Britain in 1812; and the Confederacy risked war with the Union by seceding in 1861. Although the “democratic peace” did not hold in these instances, Immanuel Kant was not entirely wrong. Republics are reluctant to go to war, but this makes it difficult for them to moderate conflict by the threat of force. When adversaries do not fear them, and persist in policies that “dishonor” them, Republics can react with surprising vigor. Republics’ reluctance to go to war, paradoxically, can cause war.