Errol Henderson critically examines what has been called the closest thing to an empirical law in world politics, the concept of the democratic peace. Henderson tests two versions of the democratic peace proposition (DPP) - that democracies rarely if ever fight one ather, and that democracies are more peaceful in general than ndemocracies - using exactly the same data and statistical techniques as their proponents. In effect hoisting the thesis on its own petard, he finds that the ostensible democratic peace has in fact been the result of a confluence of several processes during the post-World War II era. It seems clear, Henderson maintains, that the presence of democracy is hardly a guarantor of peace - and under certain conditions, it may even increase the probability of war. Henderson convincingly refutes the democratic peace proposition - using exactly the same data and techniques as its proponents.
Errol A. Henderson is associate professor of political science at Wayne State University. His recent articles include Clear and Present Strangers: The Clash of Civilizations and International Conflict and When States Implode: The Correlates of Africa's Civil Wars, 1950-92, and he is author of Afrocentrism and World Politics.