Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they support limited government, individual rights, democracy, gender equality, racial equality, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Liberalism became a distinct movement in the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among Western philosophers and economists. Liberalism sought to replace the norms of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, the divine right of kings and traditional conservatism with representative democracy and the rule of law. Liberals ended mercantilist policies, royal monopolies and other barriers to trade, instead promoting free markets. Philosopher John Locke is credited with founding liberalism as a distinct tradition, arguing that each man has a natural right to life and property, adding that governments must not violate these rights based on the social contract.
While the British liberal tradition has emphasised expanding democracy, French liberalism has emphasised rejecting authoritarianism and is linked to nation-building. Leaders in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of royal tyranny. Liberalism started to spread especially after the French Revolution; the 19th century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe and South America, whereas it was well-established alongside republicanism in the United States. In Victorian Britain, it was used to critique the political establishment, appealing to science and reason on behalf of the people. During 19th and early 20th century, liberalism in the Ottoman Empire and Middle East influenced periods of reform such as the Tanzimat and Al-Nahda as well as the rise of secularism, constitutionalism and nationalism; these changes, along with other factors, helped to create a sense of crisis within Islam, which continues to this day, leading to Islamic revivalism.
Before 1920, the main ideological opponent of classical liberalism was conservatism, but liberalism faced major ideological challenges from new opponents: fascism and communism. However, during the 20th century liberal ideas spread further—especially in Western Europe—as liberal democracies found themselves on the winning side in both world wars. In Europe and North America, the establishment of social liberalism became a key component in the expansion of the welfare state. Today, liberal parties continue to wield influence throughout the world. However, liberalism still has challenges to overcome in Asia; the fundamental elements of contemporary society have liberal roots. The early waves of liberalism popularised economic individualism while expanding constitutional government and parliamentary authority. Liberals sought and established a constitutional order that prized important individual freedoms, such as freedom of speech and freedom of association. Waves of modern liberal thought and struggle were influenced by the need to expand civil rights.
Liberals have advocated gender and racial equality in their drive to promote civil rights and a global civil rights movement in the 20th century achieved several objectives towards both goals. Continental European liberalism is divided between moderates and progressives, with the moderates tending to elitism and the progressives supporting the universalisation of fundamental institutions, such as universal suffrage, universal education and the expansion of property rights. Over time, the moderates displaced the progressives as the main guardians of continental European liberalism. Words such as liberal, liberty and libertine all trace their history to the Latin liber, which means "free". One of the first recorded instances of the word liberal occurs in 1375, when it was used to describe the liberal arts in the context of an education desirable for a free-born man; the word's early connection with the classical education of a medieval university soon gave way to a proliferation of different denotations and connotations.
Liberal could refer to "free in bestowing" as early as 1387, "made without stint" in 1433, "freely permitted" in 1530 and "free from restraint"—often as a pejorative remark—in the 16th and the 17th centuries. In 16th century England, liberal could have positive or negative attributes in referring to someone's generosity or indiscretion. In Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare wrote of "a liberal villaine" who "hath confest his vile encounters". With the rise of the Enlightenment, the word acquired decisively more positive undertones, being defined as "free from narrow prejudice" in 1781 and "free from bigotry" in 1823. In 1815, the first use of the word "liberalism" appeared in English. In Spain, the liberales, the first group to use the liberal label in a political context, fought for decades for the implementation of the 1812 Constitution. From 1820 to 1823 during the Trienio Liberal, King Ferdinand VII was compelled by the liberales to swear to uphold the Constitution. By the middle of the 19th century, liberal was used as a politicised term for parties and movements worldwide.
Over time, the meaning of the word liberalism began to diverge in different parts of the world. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica: "In the United States, liberalism is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal programme of the Democratic administration of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, where
Athenian democracy developed around the sixth century BC in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, is described as the first known democracy in the world. Other Greek cities set up democracies, most following the Athenian model, but none are as well documented as Athens'. Athens practiced a political system of executive bills. Participation was not open to all residents, but was instead limited to adult, male citizens, who "were no more than 30 percent of the total adult population."Solon and Ephialtes contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. Cleisthenes broke up the power of the nobility by organizing citizens into ten groups based on where they lived, rather than on their wealth; the longest-lasting democratic leader was Pericles. After his death, Athenian democracy was twice interrupted by oligarchic revolutions towards the end of the Peloponnesian War, it was modified somewhat. Democracy was suppressed by the Macedonians in 322 BC.
The Athenian institutions were revived, but how close they were to a real democracy is debatable. The word "democracy" combines the elements dêmos and krátos, thus means "people power". In the words "monarchy" and "oligarchy", the second element comes from archē, meaning "beginning", hence "first place or power", "sovereignty". One might expect the term "demarchy" to have been adopted, by analogy, for the new form of government introduced by Athenian democrats. However, the word "demarchy" had been taken and meant "mayoralty", the office or rank of a high municipal magistrate, it is unknown whether the word "democracy" was in existence when systems that came to be called democratic were first instituted. The word is attested in the works of Herodotus, who wrote some of the earliest surviving Greek prose, but this might not have been before 440 or 430 BC. Around 460 BC an individual is known with the name of Democrates, a name coined as a gesture of democratic loyalty. Athens was not the only polis in Ancient Greece.
Aristotle points to other cities. However, accounts of the rise of democratic institutions are in reference to Athens, since only this city-state had sufficient historical records to speculate on the rise and nature of Greek democracy. Before the first attempt at democratic government, Athens was ruled by a series of archons or chief magistrates, the Areopagus, made up of ex-archons; the members of these institutions were aristocrats who ruled the polis for their own advantage. In 621 BC, Draco codified a set of notoriously harsh laws designed to reinforce aristocratic power over the populace. Still, a growing problem of aristocratic families feuding among themselves to obtain as much power as possible led to a point where most Athenians were subject to harsh treatment and enslavement by the rich and powerful. In the 6th century BC, the Athenian laboring class convinced Plato's ancestor Solon, premier archon at the time, to liberate them and halt the feuding of the aristocracy. What soon followed was a system of chattel slavery involving foreign slaves.
Solon issued reforms that defined citizenship in a way that gave each free resident of Attica a political function: Athenian citizens had the right to participate in assembly meetings. By granting the aristocratic role to every free citizen of Athens who owned property, Solon reshaped the social framework of the city-state. Under these reforms, a council of 400 members called the boule ran daily affairs and set the political agenda; the Areopagus, which took on this role, remained but subsequently carried on the role of "guardianship of the laws". Another major contribution to democracy was Solon's setting up of an Ecclesia or Assembly, open to all male citizens. Not long afterwards, the nascent democracy was overthrown by the tyrant Peisistratos, but was reinstated after the expulsion of his son, Hippias, in 510. Cleisthenes issued reforms in 508 and 507 BC that undermined the domination of the aristocratic families and connected every Athenian to the city's rule. Cleisthenes formally identified free inhabitants of Attica as citizens of Athens, which gave them power and a role in a sense of civic solidarity.
He did this by making the traditional tribes politically irrelevant and instituting ten new tribes, each made up of about three treaties, each consisting of several demes. Every male citizen over 18 had to be registered in his deme; the third set of reforms was instigated by Ephialtes in 462/1. While Ephialtes's opponents were away attempting to assist the Spartans, he persuaded the Assembly to reduce the powers of the Areopagus to a criminal court for cases of homicide and sacrilege. At the same time or soon afterwards, the membership of the Areopagus was extended to the lower level of the propertied citizenship. In the wake of Athens's disastrous defeat in the Sicilian campaign in 413 BC, a group of citizens took steps to limit the radical democracy they thought was leading the city to ruin, their efforts conducted through constitutional channels, culminated in the establishment of an oligarchy, the Council of
Liberal democracy is a liberal political ideology and a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of classical liberalism. Called Western democracy, it is characterised by elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, a market economy with private property and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies draw upon a constitution, either formally written or uncodified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of sustained expansion throughout the 20th century, liberal democracy became the predominant political system in the world. A liberal democracy may take various constitutional forms as it may be a constitutional monarchy or a republic, it may have a presidential system or a semi-presidential system.
Liberal democracies have universal suffrage, granting all adult citizens the right to vote regardless of ethnicity, sex, or property ownership. However some countries regarded as liberal democracies have had a more limited franchise and some do not have secret ballots. There may be qualifications such as voters being required to register before being allowed to vote; the decisions made through elections are made not by all of the citizens but rather by those who are eligible and who choose to participate by voting. The liberal democratic constitution defines the democratic character of the state; the purpose of a constitution is seen as a limit on the authority of the government. Liberal democracy emphasises the separation of powers, an independent judiciary and a system of checks and balances between branches of government. Liberal democracies are to emphasise the importance of the state being a Rechtsstaat, i.e. a state that follows the principle of rule of law. Governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure.
Many democracies use federalism—also known as vertical separation of powers—in order to prevent abuse and increase public input by dividing governing powers between municipal and national governments. Liberal democracy traces its origins—and its name—to the European 18th-century known as the Age of Enlightenment. At the time, the vast majority of European states were monarchies, with political power held either by the monarch or the aristocracy; the possibility of democracy had not been a considered political theory since classical antiquity and the held belief was that democracies would be inherently unstable and chaotic in their policies due to the changing whims of the people. It was further believed that democracy was contrary to human nature, as human beings were seen to be inherently evil, violent and in need of a strong leader to restrain their destructive impulses. Many European monarchs held that their power had been ordained by God and that questioning their right to rule was tantamount to blasphemy.
These conventional views were challenged at first by a small group of Enlightenment intellectuals, who believed that human affairs should be guided by reason and principles of liberty and equality. They argued that all people are created equal and therefore political authority cannot be justified on the basis of "noble blood", a supposed privileged connection to God or any other characteristic, alleged to make one person superior to others, they further argued that governments exist to serve the people—not vice versa—and that laws should apply to those who govern as well as to the governed. Some of these ideas began to be expressed in England in the 17th century. There was renewed interest in Magna Carta, passage of the Petition of Right in 1628 and Habeas Corpus Act in 1679 established certain liberties for subjects; the idea of a political party took form with groups debating rights to political representation during the Putney Debates of 1647. After the English Civil Wars and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Bill of Rights was enacted in 1689, which codified certain rights and liberties.
The Bill set out the requirement for regular elections, rules for freedom of speech in Parliament and limited the power of the monarch, ensuring that, unlike much of Europe at the time, royal absolutism would not prevail. This led to significant social change in Britain in terms of the position of individuals in society and the growing power of Parliament in relation to the monarch. By the late 18th century, leading philosophers of the day had published works that spread around the European continent and beyond; these ideas and beliefs inspired the American Revolution and the French Revolution, which gave birth to the ideology of liberalism and instituted forms of government that attempted to apply the principles of the Enlightenment philosophers into practice. Neither of these forms of government was what we would call a liberal democracy we know today (the most significant differences being that voting rights were still restricted to a minority of the population and slavery remained a legal instituti
Theodemocracy is a theocratic political system propounded by Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. According to Smith, a theodemocracy is a fusion of traditional republican democratic principles - under the United States Constitution - along with theocratic rule. Smith described it as a system under which God and the people held the power to rule in righteousness. Smith believed that this would be the form of government that would rule the world upon the Second Coming of Christ; this polity would constitute the "Kingdom of God", foretold by the prophet Daniel in the Old Testament. Theodemocratic principles played a minor role in the forming of the State of Deseret in the American Old West. Early Latter Day Saints were Jacksonian Democrats and were involved in representative republican political processes. According to historian Marvin S. Hill, "the Latter-day Saints saw the maelstrom of competing faiths and social institutions in the early nineteenth century as evidence of social upheaval and found confirmation in the rioting and violence that characterized Jacksonian America."
Smith wrote in 1842 that earthly governments "have failed in all their attempts to promote eternal peace and happiness... is rent, from center to circumference, with party strife, political intrigues, sectional interest."Smith's belief was that only a government led by deity could banish the destructiveness of unlimited faction and bring order and happiness to the earth. Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt stated in 1855, the government of God "is a government of union." Smith believed that a theodemocratic polity would be the literal fulfillment of Christ's prayer in the Gospel of Matthew, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."Further, Smith taught that the Kingdom of God, which he called the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, would hold dominion in the last days over all other kingdoms as foretold in the Book of Daniel. Smith stated in May 1844, "I calculate to be one of the instruments of setting up the kingdom of Daniel by the word of the Lord, I intend to lay a foundation that will revolutionize the world...
It will not be by sword or gun that this kingdom will roll on: the power of truth is such that all nations will be under the necessity of obeying the Gospel."In 1859, LDS President Brigham Young equated the terms "republican theocracy" and "democratic theocracy", expressed his understanding of them when he taught, "The kingdom that the Almighty will set up in the latter days will have its officers, those officers will be peace. Every man that officiates in a public capacity will be filled with the Spirit of God, with the light of God, with the power of God, will understand right from wrong, truth from error, light from darkness, that which tends to life and that which tends to death.... They will say...'he Lord does not, neither will we control you in the least in the exercise of your agency. We place the principles of life before you. Do as you please, we will protect you in your rights....'"The theodemocratic system was to be based on principles extant in the United States Constitution, held sacred the will of the people and individual rights.
Indeed, the United States and the Constitution in particular were revered by Smith and his followers. However, in a theodemocratic system, God was to be the ultimate power and would give law to the people which they would be free to accept or reject based on republican principles. Somewhat analogous to a federal system within a theodemocracy, sovereignty would reside jointly with the people and with God. Various inconsistencies exist in this framework, such as how humans could resist the laws of an all-powerful God, or how citizens could be assured that the authority of God rather than the humans interpreting His will was being exercised. While Christ would be the "king of kings" and "lord of lords," He would only intermittently reside on Earth and the government would be left in the hands of mortal men. Young explained that a theodemocracy would consist of "many officers and branches...as there are now to that of the United States." It is known that the Council of Fifty, which Smith organized in Nauvoo, Illinois in 1844, was meant to be the central municipal body within such a system.
The Council included many members of the LDS central leadership. However it included several prominent non-Mormons. Full consensus was required for the Council to pass any measures, each participant was encouraged and in fact commanded to speak their minds on all issues brought before the body. Debate would continue. However, if consensus could not be reached Smith would "seek the will of the Lord" and break the deadlock through divine revelation. On the day of the council's organization, John Taylor, Willard Richards, William W. Phelps, Parley P. Pratt were appointed a committee to "draft a constitution which should be perfect, embrace those principles which the constitution of the United States lacked." Joseph Smith and other council members criticized the U. S. Constitution for not protecting liberty with enough vigor. After the council's committee reported its draft of the constitution, Smith instructed the council to "let the constitution alone." He dictated a revelation: "Verily thus saith the Lord, ye are my constitution, I am your God, ye are my spokesmen.
From henceforth do. Saith the Lord." Although theodemocracy was envisioned to be a unifying force which would minimize faction, it should not be viewed as a repudiation of the individualistic principles underlying American Liberalism. According to James T. McHugh, Mormon theology was "comfortable...with human-centric vision of both the Protestant Reformation
Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which people decide on policy initiatives directly. This differs from the majority of established democracies, which are representative democracies. In a representative democracy, people vote for representatives who enact policy initiatives. In direct democracy, people decide on policies without any intermediary. Depending on the particular system in use, direct democracy might entail passing executive decisions, the use of sortition, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials, conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are participatory deliberative democracy. Semi-direct democracies in which representatives administer day-to-day governance, but the citizens remain the sovereign, allow for three forms of popular action: referendum and recall; the first two forms—referendums and initiatives—are examples of direct legislation. In 2019, Thirty countries allowed for referendum initiated by the population on the national levelA'compulsory referendum' subjects the legislation drafted by political elites to a binding popular vote.
This is the most common form of direct legislation. A'popular referendum' empowers citizens to make a petition that calls existing legislation to a vote by the citizens. Institutions specify the timeframe for a valid petition and the number of signatures required, may require signatures from diverse communities to protect minority interests; this form of direct democracy grants the voting public a veto on laws adopted by the elected legislature, as is done in Switzerland. A'citizen-initiated referendum' empowers members of the general public to propose, by petition, specific statutory measures or constitutional reforms to the government and, as with referendums, the vote may be binding or advisory. Initiatives may be direct or indirect: With the direct initiative, a successful proposition is placed directly on the ballot to be subject to vote. With an indirect initiative, a successful proposition is first presented to the legislature for their consideration; such a form of indirect initiative is utilized by Switzerland for constitutional amendments.
A deliberative referendum is a referendum that increases public deliberation through purposeful institutional design. Power of recall gives the public the power to remove elected officials from office before the end of their term; the earliest known direct democracy is said to be the Athenian democracy in the 5th century BC, although it was not an inclusive democracy: women and slaves were excluded from it. The main bodies in the Athenian democracy were the assembly, composed of male citizens. There were only about 30,000 male citizens, but several thousand of them were politically active in each year, many of them quite for years on end; the Athenian democracy was direct not only in the sense that decisions were made by the assembled people, but in the sense that the people through the assembly, boulê, law courts controlled the entire political process, a large proportion of citizens were involved in the public business. Modern democracies, being representative, not direct, do not resemble the Athenian system.
Relevant to the history of direct democracy is the history of Ancient Rome the Roman Republic, beginning around 509 BC. Rome displayed many aspects of democracy, both direct and indirect, from the era of Roman monarchy all the way to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Indeed, the Senate, formed in the first days of the city, lasted through the Kingdom and Empire, continued after the decline of Western Rome; as to direct democracy, the ancient Roman Republic had a system of citizen lawmaking, or citizen formulation and passage of law, a citizen veto of legislature-made law. Many historians mark the end of the Republic with the passage of a law named the Lex Titia, 27 November 43 BC, which eliminated many oversight provisions. Modern-era citizen lawmaking began in the towns of Switzerland in the 13th century. In 1847, the Swiss added the "statute referendum" to their national constitution, they soon discovered that having the power to veto Parliament's laws was not enough. In 1891, they added the "constitutional amendment initiative".
Swiss politics since 1891 have given the world a valuable experience base with the national-level constitutional amendment initiative. In the past 120 years, more than 240 initiatives have been put to referendums; the populace has been conservative. Some of the issues surrounding the related notion of a direct democracy using the Internet and other communications technologies are dealt with in e-democracy and below under the term electronic direct democracy. More concisely, the concept of open source governance applies principles of the free software movement to the governance of people, allowing the entire populace to participate in government directly, as much or as little as they please. Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 600 BC. Athens was one of the first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, though most
Jeffersonian democracy, named after its advocate Thomas Jefferson, was one of two dominant political outlooks and movements in the United States from the 1790s to the 1820s. The term was used to refer to the Democratic-Republican Party, which Jefferson founded in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton; the Jeffersonians were committed to American republicanism, which meant opposition to what they considered to be artificial aristocracy, opposition to corruption, insistence on virtue, with a priority for the "yeoman farmer", "planters", the "plain folk". They were antagonistic to the aristocratic elitism of merchants and manufacturers, distrusted factory workers, were on the watch for supporters of the dreaded British system of government. Jeffersonian democracy persisted as an element of the Democratic Party into the early 20th century, as exemplified by the rise of Jacksonian democracy and the three presidential candidacies of William Jennings Bryan, its themes continue to echo in the 21st century among the Libertarian and Republican parties.
At the beginning of the Jeffersonian era, only two states had established universal white male suffrage by abolishing property requirements. By the end of the period, more than half of the states had followed suit, including all of the states in the Old Northwest. States also moved on to allowing popular votes for presidential elections, canvassing voters in a more modern style. Jefferson's party, known today as the Democratic-Republican Party, was in full control of the apparatus of government—from the state legislature and city hall to the White House. Jefferson has been called "the most democratic of the Founding fathers"; the Jeffersonians advocated a narrow interpretation of the Constitution's Article I provisions granting powers to the federal government. They strenuously opposed the Federalist Party, led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. President George Washington supported Hamilton's program for a financially strong national government; the election of Jefferson in 1800, which he called "the revolution of 1800", brought in the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson and the permanent eclipse of the Federalists, apart from the Supreme Court."Jeffersonian democracy" is an umbrella term and some factions favored some positions more than others.
While principled, with vehemently held core beliefs, the Jeffersonians had factions that disputed the true meaning of their creed. For example, during the War of 1812 it became apparent that independent state militia units were inadequate for conducting a serious war against a major country; the new Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, a Jeffersonian, proposed to build up the Army. With the support of most Republicans in Congress, he got his way. However, the "Old Republican" faction, claiming to be true to the Jeffersonian Principles of'98, fought him and reduced the size of the Army after Spain sold Florida to the U. S. Historians characterize Jeffersonian democracy as including the following core ideals: The core political value of America is republicanism—citizens have a civic duty to aid the state and resist corruption monarchism and aristocracy. Jeffersonian values are best expressed through an organized political party; the Jeffersonian party was the "Republican Party". It was the duty of citizens to vote and the Jeffersonians invented many modern campaign techniques designed to get out the vote.
Turnout indeed soared across the country. The work of John J. Beckley, Jefferson's agent in Pennsylvania, set new standards in the 1790s. In the 1796 presidential election, he blanketed the state with agents who passed out 30,000 hand-written tickets, naming all 15 electors. Historians consider Beckley to be one of the first American professional campaign managers and his techniques were adopted in other states; the Federalist Party its leader Alexander Hamilton, was the arch-foe because of its acceptance of aristocracy and British methods. The national government is a dangerous necessity to be instituted for the common benefit and security of the people, nation or community—it should be watched and circumscribed in its powers. Most anti-Federalists from 1787–1788 joined the Jeffersonians. Separation of church and state is the best method to keep government free of religious disputes and religion free from corruption by government; the federal government must not violate the rights of individuals.
The Bill of Rights is a central theme. The federal government must not violate the rights of the states; the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 proclaim these principles. Freedom of speech and the press are the best methods to prevent tyranny over the people by their own government; the Federalists' violation of this freedom through the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 became a major issue. The yeoman farmer best exemplifies civic virtue and independence from corrupting city influences—government policy should be for his benefit. Financiers and industrialists make cities the "cesspools of corruption" and should be avoided; the United States Constitution was written in order to ensure the freedom of the people. However, as Jefferson wrote to James Madison in 1789, "no society can make a perpetual constitution or a perpetual law; the earth belongs always to the living generation". All men have the right to be informed and thus to have a say in the government; the protection and expansion of human liberty was one of the chief goals of the Jeffersonians.
Democratic peace theory
Democratic peace theory is a theory which posits that democracies are hesitant to engage in armed conflict with other identified democracies. Among proponents of the democratic peace theory, several factors are held as motivating peace between democratic states: Democratic leaders are forced to accept culpability for war losses to a voting public; those who dispute this theory do so on grounds that it conflates correlation with causation, that the academic definitions of'democracy' and'war' can be manipulated so as to manufacture an artificial trend. Though the democratic peace theory was not rigorously or scientifically studied until the 1960s, the basic principles of the concept had been argued as early as the 1700s in the works of philosopher Immanuel Kant and political theorist Thomas Paine. Kant foreshadowed the theory in his essay Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch written in 1795, although he thought that a world with only constitutional republics was only one of several necessary conditions for a perpetual peace.
Kant's theory was that a majority of the people would never vote to go to war, unless in self-defense. Therefore, if all nations were republics, it would end war. In earlier but less cited works, Thomas Paine made similar or stronger claims about the peaceful nature of republics. Paine wrote in "Common Sense" in 1776: "The Republics of Europe are all in peace." Paine argued. French historian and social scientist Alexis de Tocqueville argued, in Democracy in America, that democratic nations were less to wage war. Dean Babst, a criminologist, was the first to do statistical research on this topic, his academic paper supporting the theory was published in 1964 in Wisconsin Sociologist. Both versions received little attention. Melvin Small and J. David Singer responded; this paper was published in the Jerusalem Journal of International Relations which brought more widespread attention to the theory, started the academic debate. A 1983 paper by political scientist Michael W. Doyle contributed further to popularizing the theory.
Rudolph J. Rummel was another early researcher and drew considerable lay attention to the subject in his works. Maoz & Abdolali extended the research to lesser conflicts than wars. Bremer and Maoz & Russett found the correlation between democracy and peacefulness remained significant after controlling for many possible confounding variables; this moved the theory into the mainstream of social science. Supporters of realism in international relations and others responded by raising many new objections. Other researchers attempted more systematic explanations of how democracy might cause peace, of how democracy might affect other aspects of foreign relations such as alliances and collaboration. There have been numerous further studies in the field since these pioneering works. Most studies have found some form of democratic peace exists, although neither methodological disputes nor doubtful cases are resolved. Research on the democratic peace theory has to define "democracy" and "peace". Democracies have been defined differently by different researchers.
Some examples: Small and Singer define democracy as a nation that holds periodic elections in which the opposition parties are as free to run as government parties, allows at least 10% of the adult population to vote, has a parliament that either controls or enjoys parity with the executive branch of the government. Doyle requires that "liberal regimes" have market or private property economics, they have policies that are internally sovereign, they have citizens with juridical rights, they have representative governments. Either 30% of the adult males were able to vote or it was possible for every man to acquire voting rights as by attaining enough property, he allows greater power to hereditary monarchs than other researchers. Ray requires that at least 50% of the adult population is allowed to vote and that there has been at least one peaceful, constitutional transfer of executive power from one independent political party to another by means of an election; this definition excludes long periods viewed as democratic.
For example, the United States until 1800, India from independence until 1979, Japan until 1993 were all under one-party rule, thus would not be counted under this definition. Rummel states that "By democracy is meant liberal democracy, where those who hold power are elected in competitive elections with a secret ballot and wide franchise.