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.
Geopolitics is the study of the effects of Earth's geography on politics and international relations. While geopolitics refers to countries and relations between them, it may focus on two other kinds of states: de facto independent states with limited international recognition and. At the level of international relations, geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand and predict international political behavior through geographical variables; these include area studies, topography, natural resources, applied science of the region being evaluated. Geopolitics focuses on political power linked to geographic space. In particular, territorial waters and land territory in correlation with diplomatic history. Topics of geopolitics include relations between the interests of international political actors and interests focused within an area, a space, or a geographical element. "Critical geopolitics" deconstructs classical geopolitical theories, by showing their political/ideological functions for great powers.
According to Christopher Gogwilt and other researchers, the term is being used to describe a broad spectrum of concepts, in a general sense used as "a synonym for international political relations", but more "to imply the global structure of such relations", which builds on "early-twentieth-century term for a pseudoscience of political geography" and other pseudoscientific theories of historical and geographic determinism. Oil and international competition over oil and gas resources was one of the main foci of the geopolitics literature from World War and onward. From about 2010, a new branch of the literature emerged, focusing on international power relations related to renewable energy. Alfred Thayer Mahan, a frequent commentator on world naval strategic and diplomatic affairs, believed that national greatness was inextricably associated with the sea—and with its commercial use in peace and its control in war. Mahan's theoretical framework came from Antoine-Henri Jomini, emphasized that strategic locations, as well as quantifiable levels of fighting power in a fleet, were conducive to control over the sea.
He proposed six conditions required for a nation to have sea power: Advantageous geographical position. Mahan distinguished a key region of the world in the Eurasian context, the Central Zone of Asia lying between 30° and 40° north and stretching from Asia Minor to Japan. In this zone independent countries still survived – Turkey, Afghanistan and Japan. Mahan regarded those countries, located between Britain and Russia, as if between "Scylla and Charybdis". Of the two monsters – Britain and Russia – it was the latter that Mahan considered more threatening to the fate of Central Asia. Mahan was impressed by Russia's transcontinental size and strategically favorable position for southward expansion. Therefore, he found it necessary for the Anglo-Saxon "sea power". Homer Lea in The Day of the Saxon described that the entire Anglo-Saxon race faced a threat from German and Japanese expansionism: The "fatal" relationship of Russia and Germany "has now assumed through the urgency of natural forces a coalition directed against the survival of Saxon supremacy."
It is "a dreadful Dreibund". Lea believed that while Japan moved against Far East and Russia against India, the Germans would strike at England, the center of the British Empire, he thought. Two famous Security Advisers from the Cold War period, Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, argued to continue the United States geopolitical focus on Eurasia and on Russia, despite the dissolution of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. Both continued their influence on geopolitics after the end of the Cold War, writing books on the subject in the 1990s—Diplomacy and The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives; the Anglo-American classical geopolitical theories were revived. Kissinger argued against the approach that with the dissolution of the USSR hostile intentions had disappeared and traditional foreign policy considerations no longer applied. "They would argue … that Russia, regardless of who govern it, sits astride the territory Halford Mackinder called the geopolitical heartland, is the heir to one of the most potent imperial traditions."
Therefore the United States must "maintain the global balance of power vis-à-vis the country with a long history of expansionism."After Russia, the second geopolitical threat remained Germany and, as Mackinder had feared ninety years ago, its partnership with Russia. During the Cold War, Kissinger argues, both sides of the Atlantic recognized that, "unless America is organically involved in Europe, it would be obliged to involve itself under circumstances far less favorable to both sides of the Atlantic; that is more true today. Germany has become so strong that existing European institutions cannot by themselves strike a balance between Germany and its European partners. Nor can Europe with Germany, manage by itself Russia." Thus Kissinger belied it is
Idealism in international relations
Idealism in foreign policy holds that a state should make its internal political philosophy the goal of its foreign policy. For example, an idealist might believe that ending poverty at home should be coupled with tackling poverty abroad. U. S. President Woodrow Wilson was an early advocate of idealism. Wilson's idealism was a precursor to liberal international relations theory, which would arise amongst the "institution-builders" after World War II, it emphasized the ideal of American exceptionalism. More Michael W. Doyle describes idealism as based on the belief that other nations' stated good intentions can be relied on, whereas Realism holds that good intentions are in the long run subject to the security dilemma described by John H. Herz. Hedley Bull wrote: By the'idealists' we have in mind writers such as Sir Alfred Zimmern, S. H. Bailey, Philip Noel-Baker, David Mitrany in the United Kingdom, James T. Shotwell, Pitman Potter, Parker T. Moon in the United States.... The distinctive characteristic of these writers was their belief in progress: the belief, in particular, that the system of international relations that had given rise to the First World War was capable of being transformed into a fundamentally more peaceful and just world order.
Since the 1880s, there has been growing study of the major writers of this idealist tradition of thought in international relations, including Sir Alfred Zimmern, Norman Angell, John Maynard Keynes, John A. Hobson, Leonard Woolf, Gilbert Murray, Florence Stawell, Philip Henry Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian, Arnold J. Toynbee, Lester Pearson and David Davies. Much of this writing has contrasted these idealist writers with'realists' in the tradition of E. H. Carr, whose The Twenty Years' Crisis both coined the term'idealist' and was a fierce and effective assault on the inter-war idealists. Idealism is centered on the notion that states are rational actors capable of ensuring lasting peace and security rather than resorting to war. Idealism is marked by the prominent role played by international law and international organizations in its conception of policy formation. One of the most well-known tenets of modern idealist thinking is democratic peace theory, which holds that states with similar modes of democratic governance do not fight one another.
Wilson's idealistic thought was embodied in his Fourteen points speech, in the creation of the League of Nations. Idealism transcends the left-right political spectrum. Idealists can include both human rights campaigners and American neoconservatism, associated with the right. Idealism may find itself in opposition to Realism, a worldview which argues that a nation's national interest is more important than ethical or moral considerations. Realist thinkers include Hans Morgenthau, Niccolò Machiavelli, Otto von Bismarck, George F. Kennan and others. Recent practitioners of Idealism in the United States have included Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Link finds that Wilson from his earliest days had imbibed the beliefs of his denomination - in the omnipotence of God, the morality of the Universe, a system of rewards and punishments and the notion that nations, as well as man, transgressed the laws of God at their peril. Blum argues that he learned from William Ewart Gladstone a mystic conviction in the superiority of Anglo-Saxons, in their righteous duty to make the world over in their image.
Moral principle, constitutionalism, faith in God were among the prerequisites for alleviating human strife. While he interpreted international law within such a brittle, moral cast, Wilson remained remarkably insensitive to new and changing social forces and conditions of the 20th century, he expected too much justice in a morally brutal world which disregarded the self-righteous resolutions of parliaments and statesmen like himself. Wilson's triumph was as a teacher of international morality to generations yet unborn. Daniel Patrick Moynihan sees Wilson's vision of world order anticipated humanity prevailing through the "Holy Ghost of Reason," a vision which rested on religious faith. Wilson's diplomatic policies had a profound influence on shaping the world. Diplomatic historian Walter Russell Mead has explained:Wilson's views were based on the future welfare of humankind, he called for a world made safe democracy, this was organized around political and social standards. These principles were stated in his 14-point peace program.
Wilson thought of this program as an American commitment to show man kind the way of liberty. The core of Wilson's program was a league of nations committed to peace, bringing down tyranny, thought to be the root of war; the idea was that if democracy could be widespread prosperity would prevail. Wilson's principles survived the eclipse of the Versailles system and they still guide European politics today: self-determination, democratic government, collective security, international law, a league of nations. Wilson may not have gotten everything he wanted at Versailles, his treaty was never ratified by the Senate, but his vision and his diplomacy, for better or worse, set the tone for the twentieth century. Fran
International relations theory
International relations theory is the study of international relations from a theoretical perspective. It attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which international relations can be analyzed. Ole Holsti describes international relations theories as acting like pairs of coloured sunglasses that allow the wearer to see only salient events relevant to the theory; the three most prominent theories are realism and constructivism. Sometimes, institutionalism proposed and developed by Keohane and Nye is discussed as an paradigm differed from liberalism. International relations theories can be divided into "positivist/rationalist" theories which focus on a principally state-level analysis, "post-positivist/reflectivist" ones which incorporate expanded meanings of security, ranging from class, to gender, to postcolonial security. Many conflicting ways of thinking exist in IR theory, including constructivism, Marxism, neo-Gramscianism, others. However, two positivist schools of thought are most prevalent: realism and liberalism.
The study of international relations, as theory, can be traced to E. H. Carr's The Twenty Years' Crisis, published in 1939, to Hans Morgenthau's Politics Among Nations published in 1948. International relations, as a discipline, is believed to have emerged after the First World War with the establishment of a Chair of International Relations at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Early international relations scholarship in the interwar years focused on the need for the balance of power system to be replaced with a system of collective security; these thinkers were described as "Idealists". The leading critique of this school of thinking was the "realist" analysis offered by Carr. However, a more recent study, by David Long and Brian Schmidt in 2005, offers a revisionist account of the origins of the field international relations, they claim that the history of the field can be traced back to late 19th Century imperialism and internationalism. The fact that the history of the field is presented by "great debates", such as the realist-idealist debate, does not correspond with the historic evidence found in earlier works: "We should once and for all dispense with the outdated anachronistic artifice of the debate between the idealists and realists as the dominant framework for and understanding the history of the field".
Their revisionist account claims that, up until 1918, international relations existed in the form of colonial administration, race science, race development. A clear distinction is made between explanatory and constitutive approaches when classifying international relations theories. Explanatory theories are ones which postulates the world is something external to theorize about. A constitutive theory is one which suggest that theories help construct the world. Realism or political realism has been the dominant theory of international relations since the conception of the discipline; the theory claims to rely upon an ancient tradition of thought which includes writers such as Thucydides and Hobbes. Early realism can be characterized as a reaction against interwar idealist thinking; the outbreak of World War II was seen by realists as evidence of the deficiencies of idealist thinking. There are various strands of modern-day realist thinking. However, the main tenets of the theory have been identified as statism and self-help.
Statism: Realists believe that nation states are the main actors in international politics. As such it is a state-centric theory of international relations; this contrasts with liberal international relations theories which accommodate roles for non-state actors and international institutions. This difference is sometimes expressed by describing a realist world view as one which sees nation states as billiard balls, liberals would consider relationships between states to be more of a cobweb. Survival: Realists believe that the international system is governed by anarchy, meaning that there is no central authority. Therefore, international politics is a struggle for power between self-interested states. Self-help: Realists believe that no other states can be relied upon to help guarantee the state's survival. Realism makes several key assumptions, it assumes that nation-states are unitary, geographically based actors in an anarchic international system with no authority above capable of regulating interactions between states as no true authoritative world government exists.
Secondly, it assumes that sovereign states, rather than intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, or multinational corporations, are the primary actors in international affairs. Thus, states, as the highest order, are in competition with one another; as such, a state acts as a rational autonomous actor in pursuit of its own self-interest with a primary goal to maintain and ensure its own security—and thus its sovereignty and survival. Realism holds that in pursuit of their interests, states will attempt to amass resources, that relations between states are determined by their relative levels of power; that level of power is in turn determined by the state's military and political capabilities. Some realists, known as human nature realists or classical realists, believe that states are inherently aggressive, that territorial expansion is constrained only by opposing powers, while others, known as offensive/defensive realists, believe that states are obsessed with the security and continuation of the state's existence.
The defensive view can lead to a security dilemma, where increasing one's own security can bring along greater instability as the opponent builds up its ow
E. H. Carr
Edward Hallett "Ted" Carr was an English historian, diplomat and international relations theorist, an opponent of empiricism within historiography. Carr was best known for his 14-volume history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1929, for his writings on international relations The Twenty Years' Crisis, for his book What Is History?, in which he laid out historiographical principles rejecting traditional historical methods and practices. Educated at the Merchant Taylors' School, at Trinity College, Carr began his career as a diplomat in 1916. Becoming preoccupied with the study of international relations and of the Soviet Union, he resigned from the Foreign Office in 1936 to begin an academic career. From 1941 to 1946, Carr worked as an assistant editor at The Times, where he was noted for his leaders urging a socialist system and an Anglo-Soviet alliance as the basis of a post-war order. Afterwards, Carr worked on a massive 14-volume work on Soviet history entitled A History of Soviet Russia, a project that he was still engaged on at the time of his death in 1982.
In 1961, he delivered the G. M. Trevelyan lectures at the University of Cambridge that became the basis of his book, What Is History? Moving towards the left throughout his career, Carr saw his role as the theorist who would work out the basis of a new international order. Carr was born in London to a middle-class family, was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School in London, Trinity College, where he was awarded a First Class Degree in Classics in 1916. Carr's family had originated in northern England, the first mention of his ancestors was a George Carr who served as the Sheriff of Newcastle in 1450. Carr's parents were Jesse Carr, they were Conservatives, but went over to supporting the Liberals in 1903 over the free trade issue. When Joseph Chamberlain proclaimed his opposition to free trade and announced in favour of Imperial Preference, Carr's father, for whom all tariffs were abhorrent, changed his political loyalties. Carr described the atmosphere at the Merchant Taylors School: "95% of my school fellows came from orthodox Conservative homes, regarded Lloyd George as an incarnation of the devil.
We Liberals were a tiny despised minority." From his parents, Carr inherited a strong belief in progress as an unstoppable force in world affairs, throughout his life a recurring theme in Carr's thinking was that the world was progressively becoming a better place. In 1911, Carr won the Craven Scholarship to attend Trinity College at Cambridge. At Cambridge, Carr was much impressed by hearing one of his professors lecture on how the Greco-Persian Wars influenced Herodotus in the writing of the Histories. Carr found this to be a great discovery—the subjectivity of the historian's craft; this discovery was to influence his 1961 book What Is History?. Like many of his generation, Carr found World War I to be a shattering experience as it destroyed the world he knew before 1914, he joined the British Foreign Office in 1916, resigning in 1936. Carr was excused from military service for medical reasons. Carr was at first assigned to the Contraband Department of the Foreign Office, which sought to enforce the blockade on Germany, in 1917 was assigned to the Northern Department, which amongst other areas dealt with relations with Russia.
As a diplomat, Carr was praised by the Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax as someone who had "distinguished himself not only by sound learning and political understanding, but in administrative ability". At first, Carr knew nothing about the Bolsheviks, he recalled of having some "vague impression of the revolutionary views of Lenin and Trotsky" but of knowing nothing of Marxism. By 1919, Carr had become convinced that the Bolsheviks were destined to win the Russian Civil War, approved of the Prime Minister David Lloyd George's opposition to the anti-Bolshevik ideas of the War Secretary Winston Churchill on the grounds of realpolitik, he wrote that in the spring of 1919 he "was disappointed when he gave way on the Russian question in order to buy French consent to concessions to Germany" In 1919, Carr was part of the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference and was involved in the drafting of parts of the Treaty of Versailles relating to the League of Nations. During the conference, Carr was much offended at the Allied French, treatment of the Germans, writing that the German delegation at the peace conference were "cheated over the'Fourteen Points', subjected to every petty humiliation".
Beside working on the sections of the Versailles treaty relating to the League of Nations, Carr was involved in working out the borders between Germany and Poland. Carr favoured Poland, urging in a memo in February 1919 that Britain recognise Poland at once, that the German city of Danzig be ceded to Poland. In March 1919, Carr fought against the idea of a Minorities Treaty for Poland, arguing that the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in Poland would be best guaranteed by not involving the international community in Polish internal affairs. By the spring of 1919, Carr's relations with the Polish delegation had declined to a state of mutual hostility. Carr's tendency to favour the claims of the Germans at the expense of the Poles led Adam Zamoyski to note that Carr "held views of the most extraordinary racial arrogance on all of the nations of Eastern Europe". Carr's biographer, Jonathan Haslam, wrote that Carr grew up in a place where German culture was appreciated
Kenneth Neal Waltz was an American political scientist, a member of the faculty at both the University of California and Columbia University and one of the most prominent scholars in the field of international relations. He was a veteran of the Korean War. Waltz was one of the original founders of neorealism, or structural realism, in international relations theory and became associated with the school of defensive neorealism. Waltz's theories have been extensively debated within the field of international relations. In 1981, Waltz published a monograph arguing that in some cases the proliferation of nuclear weapons could increase the probability of international peace. Leslie H. Gelb has considered Waltz one of the "giants" who helped define the field of international relations as an academic discipline. Columbia University colleague Robert Jervis has said of Waltz, "Almost everything he has written challenges the consensus that prevailed at the time" and "Even when you disagree, he moves your thinking ahead."
Waltz was born on June 1924, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He attended high school there, he attended Oberlin College, where he started out majoring in mathematics. That was interrupted to serve in the Army of the United States from 1944–46 during World War II, when he rose in rank from private to first lieutenant, he graduated from Oberlin with an A. B. degree in 1948, having switched his major to economics. He was a Phi Beta Kappa and named an Amos Miller Scholar. In 1949, he married Helen Elizabeth Lindsley, known as "Huddie", they had three children together. After attending Columbia University to obtain an upper graduate degree in economics, he switched to political science because political philosophy was more interesting to him, he received his M. A. degree from there in 1950. He was an instructor at Oberlin for a while in 1950. A member of the US Army Reserve, he was called upon to serve again during the Korean War, which he did during 1951–52 as a first lieutenant. Returning to Columbia, he obtained his Ph.
D. under William T. R. Fox in 1954. Waltz became a lecturer assistant professor, at Columbia during 1953 to 1957, he became one of the early group of scholars at Columbia's Institute of War and Peace Studies, acting as a research assistant from 1952 to 1954 and a research associate beginning in 1954. Saying that he and his wife had been unsettled by the prospect of raising small children in New York City, Waltz left Columbia for Swarthmore College, where he was an assistant professor and a professor, from 1957–66, he moved on to Brandeis University for a stint from 1966 to 1971, the last four years of which he held the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics chair. In 1971, Waltz switched coasts and joined University of California, where he was appointed the Ford Professor of Political Science and stayed for over two decades. During this time, Waltz held a number of additional research positions, he was affiliated with the Institute of War and Peace Studies through 1964. He was a fellow of Columbia University in Political Theory and International Relations from 1959 to 1960 in London.
He was a research associate at Center for International Affairs at Harvard University in 1963–1964, 1968–6, 1969, 1972. He held a National Science Foundation grant from 1968 to 1971 to develop a theory of international politics, he was a Guggenheim Fellow for 1976–1977 and a fellow at the Institute for the Study of World Politics in 1977. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1979–1980, he was a research associate with the Department of War Studies, King's College London. Waltz taught at Peking University for two months in 1982 and taught at Fudan University as well, he lectured at a number of institutions in the US, including the United States Air Force Academy, the National War College, the Army War College, the Naval War College. He lectured at many other institutions around the world, including the London School of Economics, the Australian National University, the University of Bologna. Waltz retired from his position at Berkeley and returned to Columbia University in 1997.
There he became an adjunct professor as well as a senior research scholar at the Institute of War and Peace Studies. Waltz served as Secretary of the American Political Science Association in 1966–1967 and as its President in 1987–1988, he was President of the New England Section of the International Studies Association in 1966–1967. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Sciences, he served stints on the boards of editors of several scholarly journals. Waltz's initial contribution to the field of international relations was his 1959 book, the State, War, based upon his dissertation, which classified theories of the causes of war into three categories, or levels of analysis. Waltz refers to these levels of analysis as "images," and uses the writings of one or more classic political philosophers to outline the major points of each image; each image is given two chapters: the first uses the classical philosopher's writings to describe what that image says about the cause of war. Waltz's wife was essential in contributing the research that became the basis for Man, the State, War.
The first image argues that wars are caused by the nature of particular statesmen and political leaders such as state leaders, like Napoleon, or by human nature more generally. That is consistent with Classical Realism, which dominated the International Relations discipline at the time of Man, the State, War, but Waltz would contest it more in his next book, Theory
Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr was an American Reformed theologian, commentator on politics and public affairs, professor at Union Theological Seminary for more than 30 years. Niebuhr was one of America's leading public intellectuals for several decades of the 20th century and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. A public theologian, he wrote and spoke about the intersection of religion and public policy, with his most influential books including Moral Man and Immoral Society and The Nature and Destiny of Man; the latter is ranked number 18 of the top 100 non-fiction books of the twentieth century by Modern Library. Andrew Bacevich labelled Niebuhr's book The Irony of American History "the most important book written on U. S. foreign policy." The historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. described Niebuhr as "the most influential American theologian of the 20th century" and Time posthumously called Niebuhr "the greatest Protestant theologian in America since Jonathan Edwards."Starting as a minister with working-class sympathies in the 1920s and sharing with many other ministers a commitment to pacifism and socialism, his thinking evolved during the 1930s to neo-orthodox realist theology as he developed the philosophical perspective known as Christian realism.
He attacked utopianism as ineffectual for dealing with reality, writing in The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible. Niebuhr's realism deepened after 1945 and led him to support American efforts to confront Soviet communism around the world. A powerful speaker, he was one of the most influential thinkers of the 1940s and 1950s in public affairs. Niebuhr battled with religious liberals over what he called their naïve views of the contradictions of human nature and the optimism of the Social Gospel, battled with the religious conservatives over what he viewed as their naïve view of scripture and their narrow definition of "true religion". During this time he was viewed by many as the intellectual rival of John Dewey. Niebuhr's contributions to political philosophy include utilizing the resources of theology to argue for political realism, his work has significantly influenced international relations theory, leading many scholars to move away from idealism and embrace realism.
A large number of scholars, including political scientists, political historians, theologians, have noted his influence on their thinking. Aside from academics, activists such as Myles Horton and the reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. numerous politicians that include Hillary Clinton, Hubert Humphrey, Dean Acheson, James Comey, Madeleine Albright, John McCain, as well as former US Presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter. Recent years have seen a renewed interest in Niebuhr's work, in part because of Obama's stated admiration for Niebuhr. In 2017, PBS released a documentary on Niebuhr, titled An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story. Aside from his political commentary, Niebuhr is known for having composed the Serenity Prayer, a recited prayer, popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous. Niebuhr was one of the founders of both Americans for Democratic Action and the International Rescue Committee and spent time at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, while serving as a visiting professor at both Harvard and Princeton.
He was the brother of another prominent theologian, H. Richard Niebuhr. Niebuhr was born on June 21, 1892, in Wright City, the son of German immigrants Gustav Niebuhr and his wife, Lydia, his father was a German Evangelical pastor. It is now part of the United Church of Christ; the family spoke German at home. His brother H. Richard Niebuhr became a famous theological ethicist and his sister Hulda Niebuhr became a divinity professor in Chicago; the Niebuhr family moved to Lincoln, Illinois, in 1902 when Gustav Niebuhr became pastor of Lincoln's St. John's German Evangelical Synod church. Reinhold Niebuhr first served as pastor of a church when he served from April to September 1913 as interim minister of St. John's following his father's death. Niebuhr attended Elmhurst College in Illinois and graduated in 1910, he studied at Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, where, as he admitted, he was influenced by Samuel D. Press in "biblical and systematic subjects", Yale Divinity School, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1914 and a Master of Arts degree the following year with the thesis The Contribution of Christianity to the Doctrine of Immortality.
He always regretted not taking a doctorate. He said that Yale gave him intellectual liberation from the localism of his German-American upbringing. In 1931 Niebuhr married Ursula Keppel-Compton, she was a member of the Church of England and was educated at the University of Oxford in theology and history. She met Niebuhr while studying for her master's degree at Union Theological Seminary. For many years, she was on faculty at Barnard College where she helped establish and chaired the religious studies department; the Niebuhrs had Christopher Niebuhr and Elisabeth Niebuhr Sifton. Ursula Niebuhr left evidence in her professional papers at the Library of Congress showing that she co-authored some of her husband's writings. In 1915, Niebuhr was ordained a pastor; the German Evangelical mission board sent him to serve at Bethel Evangelical Church in Detroit, Michigan. The congregation numbered sixty-six on his arrival and grew to nearly 700 by the time he left in 1928; the increase ref