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The Saavedra Lamas Peace: How a Norm Complex Evolved and Crystallized to Dramatically Reduce Militarized Conflict in the Americas

Schenoni, Luis; Goertz, Gary; Owsiak, Andrew; Diehl, Paul; (2024) The Saavedra Lamas Peace: How a Norm Complex Evolved and Crystallized to Dramatically Reduce Militarized Conflict in the Americas. International Studies Quarterly (In press).

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Abstract

After the Napoleonic Wars, interstate war regularly occurred throughout the Western Hemisphere—until it virtually disappeared in the early 1930s. Low-level militarized conflict continued, but also became less frequent, shorter, and less severe over time. Why did conflict behavior change so markedly in the Americas, but not elsewhere, and why did that change occur in the early 1930s? We argue that leaders in the Americas identified two interrelated problems that frequently threatened or caused interstate war. In response, they developed a unique, regional, norm-complex solution that bundled together two primary norms (territorial integrity and non-intervention) and one corollary norm (arbitration). This norm complex emerged via Latin American entrepreneurship shortly after independence, cascaded with Pan-Americanism, and finished crystallizing with the Saavedra Lamas Treaty in the early 1930s. We first explain generally how, why, and when norm complexes develop, augmenting the classic norm-cycle framework with a punctuated-equilibrium model and adding a crystallization period to it. We then investigate the evolution, behavioral effects, and constraints of the Latin American norm complex mentioned above—via historical narratives, quantitative analysis, and within-case qualitative counterfactuals. Interstate war disappeared from the Americas when the norm-complex gained widespread acceptance and received significant codification (i.e., crystallized).

Type: Article
Title: The Saavedra Lamas Peace: How a Norm Complex Evolved and Crystallized to Dramatically Reduce Militarized Conflict in the Americas
Publisher version: https://academic.oup.com/isq
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10179469
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