Explaining Zones of Peace: Democracies as Satisfied Powers?

Arie M. Kacowicz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


In the ongoing debate on explaining why democracies do not fight each other, an attempt to establish a correlation between democracies and territorial demands is made by posing the hypothesis that well-established democracies do not fight each other since they are conservative powers, usually satisfied with the territorial status quo within and across their borders. If this hypothesis is corroborated by the historical evidence, then it is possible to speculate that the zone of peace among democracies might be expanded if more countries (not necessarily democracies) also become satisfied with the status quo. To test the relevance of this proposition, the relationship between democracies and territorial demands is examined in historical and geographical terms, through the analysis of international subsystems or regions as the unit of analysis. A zone of peace is then defined as a discrete geographical region of the world in which a group of states have maintained peaceful relations among themselves for a period of at least thirty years. The historical and geographical zones of peace identified since 1815 are: (1) Europe, 1815-48; (2) Europe, 1871-1914; (3) Western Europe, since 1945; (4) North America, since 1917; (5) South America, 1883 to 1932 and since 1942; (6) West Africa, since 1957; (7) East Asia, since 1953; and (8) Australasia, since 1945.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)265-276
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1995


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