Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Politics and Government: Political Science
The democratic peace theory holds that democracies rarely, if ever, go to war with one another based on the institutional and normative features of democratic governments. Alternatively, the capitalist peace theory insists that, rather than the democratic nature of a government, states opt out of warfare when their economic interests are at play – whether that be trade interdependence or general market features. Traditionally, scholars have focused on explaining the causes of Militarized Interstate Disputes (MIDs) among advanced industrialized democracies. Based on the tenets of capitalism and a new outcome variable of intervention (e.g., coups), this thesis uses two instances of U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America to demonstrate a theoretical framework that may explain peace between advanced industrialized democracies and weak or emerging democracies. Theoretically, I argue that advanced industrialized democracies are more likely to intervene weak or emerging democracies that do not pursue capitalistic economic policies because the economic interests of elites in advanced democracies outweigh democratic values. Altogether, I argue that the capitalist peace theory likely explains peace among nations better than the democratic peace theory because it can explain peace among advanced industrialized democracies and weak or emerging democracies.
Burgener, Grace, "Democracy or Capitalism? the United States and Latin America" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 1590.