James Boesen

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Radasanu, Andrea M., 1973-

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Political science; Peace--Study and teaching


Liberal international relations scholars have posited that liberalism promotes peaceful relations amongst states. These scholars utilize the writings of Montesquieu, most notably Spirit of the Laws, as the philosophic foundation for their liberal peace theory. My dissertation challenges this conventional understanding of Montesquieu. I contend that Montesquieu's liberalism does not bind nations together in peace but instead pushes liberal states to engage in expansionary and imperial behavior. Mores rooted in commerce and liberty inclines liberal state to be in contention with other states and push its interests across the globe. This will lead the liberal states to push their liberalism into countries which opposes these liberal mores, leading to the forced imposition of the liberal order on previous illiberal people. Furthermore, I challenge the notion that the liberal peace theory is even a theory of peace. It suffers from the same expansionary behavior and insensitivity to local contexts that we find in Montesquieu's liberalism. Although Montesquieu and liberal peace scholars have strong oppositions to the project of empire they still advocate for a liberal ideology that inevitably leads to said empire.


Advisors: Andrea Radasanu.||Committee members: Scott Schraufnagel; Ches Thurber.||Includes bibliographical references.


171 pages




Northern Illinois University

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