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Journal Article

Trends in American Major War and Peace

Francis A. Beer
The Journal of Conflict Resolution
Vol. 27, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 661-686
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/173891
Page Count: 26
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Trends in American Major War and Peace
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Abstract

This article attempts to describe possible historical trends in American major peace and war. With caution, because of the small number of data points, it notes that (a) periods of major peace have become more frequent and shorter; (b) major wars that break up the peace periods have necessarily become more frequent; (c) the length of major wars shows no clear overall trend, though there may be reason to believe that major wars have become more frequent and longer in our own time; and (d) major war casualties appear to have increased absolutely, though not relative to population. These results are compared with possible historical trends in the more general international system, as well as with patterns suggested by probabilistic theory. One explanation for the American experience of peace and war lies in the dynamics of U.S. growth. If one assumes that the apparent trends will continue, the findings finally allow us to extrapolate the scope and limits of future American peace and war.

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