perpetual peace

Perpetual peace refers to a state of affairs where peace is permanently established over a certain area (ideally, the whole world - see world peace).

Many would-be world conquerors have promised that their rule would enforce perpetual peace. No empire has ever extended its authority over the entire world, and thus nothing can be said about the ability of a universal empire to ensure world peace, but several large empires have maintained relative peace in their spheres of influence over extended periods of time. Typical examples are the Roman Empire (see Pax Romana) and the British Empire (see Pax Britannica). However their rule wasn't without incident (see Jewish Revolt, Muhammad Ahmad). Whether such imperial peace is actually good or desirable is another question entirely. In addition, no imperial peace has been permanent, because no empire has lasted forever.

Several religions have prophesied that their divinity would produce perpetual peace at some point in the future. The most famous of these is embodied in bronze at the United Nations headquarters, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah )

There are also a number of secular projects for a perpetual peace which employ means more subtle, but perhaps more attainable, than universal empire or even democratic world government.

If one state can't reach the power to impose peace on the world, perhaps several can. Henri IV attempted to actually create such a confederation. Others were proposed by the abbé de Saint-Pierre and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The Kantian view and its descendants

The other modern plans for a perpetual peace descend from Immanuel Kant's 1795 essay, Project for a Perpetual Peace. In this essay, Kant described his proposed peace program as containing two steps. The "Preliminary Articles" described the steps that should be taken immediately, or with all deliberate speed:
  1. "No Treaty of Peace Shall Be Held Valid in Which There Is Tacitly Reserved Matter for a Future War"
  2. "No Independent States, Large or Small, Shall Come under the Dominion of Another State by Inheritance, Exchange, Purchase, or Donation"
  3. "Standing Armies Shall in Time Be Totally Abolished"
  4. "National Debts Shall Not Be Contracted with a View to the External Friction of States"
  5. "No State Shall by Force Interfere with the Constitution or Government of Another State"
  6. "No State Shall, during War, Permit Such Acts of Hostility Which Would Make Mutual Confidence in the Subsequent Peace Impossible: Such Are the Employment of Assassins (percussores), Poisoners (venefici), Breach of Capitulation, and Incitement to Treason (perduellio) in the Opposing State"

Three Definitive Articles would provide not merely a cessation of hostilities, but a foundation on which to build a peace.
  1. "The Civil Constitution of Every State Should Be Republican"
  2. "The Law of Nations Shall be Founded on a Federation of Free States"
  3. "The Law of World Citizenship Shall Be Limited to Conditions of Universal Hospitality"

Kant's essay in some ways resembles, yet differs significantly from modern democratic peace theory. He speaks of republican, Republikanisch, (not democratic), states, which he defines to have representative governments, in which the legislature is separated from the executive. He does not discuss universal suffrage, which is vital to modern democracy and quite important to some modern theorists; his commentators dispute whether it is implied by his language. Most importantly, he does not regard republican governments as sufficient by themselves to produce peace: freedom of emigration (hospitality) and a league of nations are necessary to consciously enact his six-point program.

Unlike some modern theorists, Kant claims not that republics will be at peace only with each other, but are more pacific than other forms of government in general.

The general idea that popular and responsible governments would be more inclined to promote peace and commerce became one current in the stream of European thought and political practice. It was one element of the American policy of George Canning and the foreign policy of Lord Palmerston. It was also represented in the liberal internationalism of Woodrow Wilson, George Creel, and H.G. Wells, although other planks in Kant's platform had even more influence. In the next generation, Kant's program was represented by the Four Freedoms and the United Nations.

Kant's essay is a three-legged stool (besides the preliminary disarmament). Various projects for perpetual peace have relied on one leg - either claiming that it is sufficient to produce peace, or that it will create the other two.

In August 1914, in the early days of World War I, Wells stated that the war would be, "the war to end all war" , on the grounds that once Prussian militarism and autocracy was replaced by popular government, European nations would not ever go to war with each other; militarism and armaments resulted from the German threat. (He also suggested other policies, which proved less popular.) This idea was much repeated and simplified over the next four years; at present the idea that democracy by itself should prevent or minimize war is represented by the various democratic peace theories.

In 1909, Norman Angell relied only upon the second leg, arguing that modern commerce made war necessarily unprofitable, even for the technically victorious country, and therefore the possibility of successful war was The Great Illusion. James Mill had described the British Empire as outdoor relief for the upper classes; Joseph Schumpeter argued that capitalism made modern states inherently peaceful and opposed to conquest and imperialism, which economically favored the old aristocratic elites.

This theory has been well developed in recent years. Mansfield and Pollins, writing in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, summarize a large body of empirical work which, for the most part, supports the thesis [2]. There are various exceptions and qualifications which seem to limit the circumstances under which economic interdependence results in conflict reduction. On the other hand, moving beyond economic interdependence to the issue of economic freedom within states, Erik Gartzke has found empirical evidence that economic freedom (as measured by the Fraser Institute Economic Freedom Index) is about fifty times more effective than democracy in reducing violent conflict. [3]

The third leg is the old idea that a confederation of peaceable princes could produce a perpetual peace. Kant had distinguished his league from a universal state; Clarence Streit proposed, in Union Now(1938), a union of the democratic states modelled after the Constitution of the United States. He argued that trade and the peaceable ways of democracy would keep this Union perpetual, and counted on the combined power of the Union to deter the Axis from war.

Jeremy Bentham proposed that disarmament, arbitration, and the renunciation of colonies would produce perpetual peace, thus relying merely on Kant's preliminary articles and on none of the three main points; contrary to the modern theorists, he relied on public opinion, even against the absolute Monarchy in Sweden. Many have followed him since.


Kant's Project for a Perpetual Peace
Bentham's Plan for an Universal and Perpetual Peace
Peace Plans of Rousseau, Bentham, and Kant
Mansfield and Pollins, The Study of Interdependence and Conflict
Erik Gartke, Economic Freedom and Peace

See also

World peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations. It is the professed ambition of many past and present world leaders.


Some historians identify a long-term trend where nation-states stop fighting and become united.
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world domination (sometimes world conquest) has long been a popular theme in both history and fiction. The quest for global domination is colloquially referred to as taking over the world
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empire (from the Latin "imperium", denoting military command within the ancient Roman government). Generally, they may define an empire as a state that extends dominion over populations distinct culturally and ethnically from the culture/ethnicity at the center of power.
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The Roman Empire is the name given to both the imperial domain developed by the city-state of Rome and also the corresponding phase of that civilization, characterized by an autocratic form of government. This article however is about the latter.
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Pax Romana, Latin for "the Roman peace" (sometimes Pax Augusta), was the long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force experienced by the Roman Empire between 27 BC and 180 AD.
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British Empire was the largest empire in history and for a substantial time was the foremost global power. It was a product of the European age of discovery, which began with the maritime explorations of the 15th century, that sparked the era of the European colonial empires.
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Pax Britannica (Latin for "the British Peace", modelled after Pax Romana) refers to a period of British imperialism after the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, which led to a period of overseas British expansionism.
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first Jewish-Roman War (years 66–73 CE), sometimes called The Great Revolt (Hebrew: המרד הגדול‎, ha-Mered Ha-Gadol
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Muhammad Ahmad ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah (otherwise known as The Mahdi or Muhammad Ahmed Al Mahdi Arabic:محمد أحمد المهدي) (August 12, 1844 - June 22, 1885) was a religious leader, in
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(and largest city)
Official languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish
Membership 192 member states
 -  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
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Torah | Nevi'im | Ketuvim
Books of Nevi'im
First Prophets
1. Joshua
2. Judges
3. Samuel
4. Kings
Later Prophets
5. Isaiah
6. Jeremiah
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Henry IV
King of France and Navarre, co-Prince of Andorra, Lord of Béarn, and Donezan; Count of Provence, Forcalquier and the lands adjacent (more...)

Reign 2 August 1589 – 14 May 1610
Coronation 27 February 1594, Chartres

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Charles-Irénée Castel, abbé de Saint-Pierre (February 18, 1658 – April 29, 1743) was a French writer.

He was born at the château de Saint-Pierre-Église near Cherbourg. He was an influential writer and radical.
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau, (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a philosopher of the Enlightenment whose political ideas influenced the French Revolution, the development of both liberal and socialist theory, and the growth of nationalism.
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Immanuel Kant (22 April, 1724 – 12 February, 1804) was a philosopher from Königsberg in the Kingdom of Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia). He is regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe and the closing period of the Enlightenment.
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A standing army is an army composed of full time professional soldiers who 'stand over', in other words, who do not disband during times of peace. They differ from army reserves who are activated only during such times as war or natural disasters.
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The democratic peace theory, liberal peace theory,[1] or simply the democratic peace is a theory and related empirical research in international relations, political science, and philosophy which holds that democracies—usually, liberal
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Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a democracy, with an emphasis on liberty, rule by the people, and the civic virtue practiced by citizens. Republicanism always stands in opposition to aristocracy, oligarchy, and dictatorship.
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Democracy describes small number of related forms of government. The fundamental feature is competitive elections. Competitive elections are usually seen to require freedom of speech (especially in political affairs), freedom of the press, and some degree of rule of law.
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In politics, representation describes how political power is alienated from most of the members of a group and vested, for a certain time period, in the hands of a small subset of the members.
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A legislature is a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to adopt laws.

Legislatures are known by many names, the most common being parliament and congress, although these terms also have more specific meanings.
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Separation of powers is a term coined by French political Enlightenment thinker Baron de Montesquieu[1][2], is a model for the governance of democratic states. The model is also known as Trias Politica.
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In political science and constitutional law, the executive is the branch of government responsible for the day-to-day management of the state. In many countries, it is referred to simply as the government, but this usage can be confusing in an international context.
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Universal suffrage (also general suffrage or common suffrage) consists of the extension of the right to vote to all adults, without distinction as to race, sex, belief, intelligence, or economic or social status.
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republic, for all other uses see: republic (disambiguation)

List of forms of government
  • Anarchism
  • Aristocracy
  • Authoritarianism
  • Autocracy
  • Communist state
  • Democracy
Direct democracy

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League of Nations

1939–1941 semi-official emblem

Anachronous world map in 1920–1945, showing the League of Nations and the world

Formation 28 June 1919
Extinction 18 April 1946
Headquarters Palais des Nations, Geneva
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Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability which is the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy.
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George Canning (11 April 1770 – 8 August 1827) was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and, briefly, Prime Minister.

Early life

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Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, KG, GCB, PC (20 October 1784 – 18 October 1865) was a British statesman who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century.
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Liberal internationalism is a foreign policy doctrine that argues that liberal states should intervene in other sovereign states in order to pursue liberal objectives. Such intervention includes military intervention and humanitarian aid.
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