The question: Liberalism: What are the main strengths and weaknesses of collective security as a legal-institutional mechanisms to manage conflict and maintain peace in international relations?

The word limit is exactly 2,000 words. Excluding the bibliography. Please, not a word more.


Think carefully about what a question is asking you to do when selecting your readings.

Do be careful about over-generalisation. Within a particular theoretical school of thought, some authors might disagree with one another. In such cases, rather than speaking about one school of thought in general, it might be important to bring out and discuss disagreements among thinkers in that tradition. Again, we are trying to cultivate your judgement here – so think carefully about what you are reading.

The structure:

Introduce your essay by briefly stating your answer to the question and how you will make it, sketching out the structure of your argument. Remember: an essay that does not answer the question set is not a proper essay, and an introduction that does not preview the answer given in the essay is not a proper introduction!

Develop your argument in a logical sequence of points, one main point per paragraph, introducing each with an appropriate topic sentence. This should signal the content of the paragraph. Your tutor should be able just to read the topic sentences of your essay and understand your argument in a nutshell. Topic sentences should therefore be argumentative and not descriptive. E.g. “Further evidence that liberals do not believe that human nature is necessarily good is found in the work of X”, not “In Book X, Author Y says Z”.

Briefly conclude your essay by summing up the core argument. Check that it actually matches the introduction and the content of your essay. If you have argued successfully, the argument should be clear all the way through. If you are only making an argument in the final paragraph, you have failed to make an argument and must re-draft the essay.

The only sources you are allowed to use (please do not use anything from your own sources, just the ones mentioned below):

Kant, I. (1991 [1795]) ‘Perpetual Peace’ in Reiss, H. (ed.), Kant: Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 93-115. [B2758.KAN]

Kant, I. (1991 [1784]) ‘Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View’ in Reiss, H. (ed.), Kant: Political Writings 2nd edn. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 41-53. [B2758.KAN]

Archibugi, D. (1995) ‘Immanuel Kant, Cosmopolitan Law and Peace’, European Journal of International Relations 1(4): 429-456.

Behnke, A. (2008). ‘Eternal Peace as the Graveyard of the Political: A Critique of Kant’s Zum Ewigen Frieden’. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 513-531.

Bohman, J. and Lutz-Bachman, M. (1997). ‘Kant’s Cosmopolitan Ideal in “Toward Perpetual Peace”: Historical Reconstruction’. In Bohman and Lutz-Bachman (eds.) Perpetual Peace: Essays on Kant’s Cosmopolitan Ideal. Cambridge: Polity.

Bowie, A. (2010) ‘Kant and Modernity’. In German Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 6-20.

Doyle, M.W. (1983) ‘Kant, Liberal Legacies and Foreign Affairs’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 12(3): 205-235.

Doyle, M.W. (1983) ‘Kant, Liberal Legacies and Foreign Affairs, Part 2’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 12(4): 323-353.

Friedrich. C.J. (1947). ‘The Ideology of the United Nations Charter and the Philosophy of Peace of Immanuel Kant 1795-1945, The Journal of Politics, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 10-30.

Habermas, J. (1997). ‘Kant’s Ideal of Perpetual Peace, with the Benefit of Two Hundred Years Hindsight’. In Bohman, J. (ed.), Perpetual Peace: Essays on Kant’s Cosmopolitan Ideal. Cambridge: Polity

Habermas, J. (2004). The Divided West. Cambridge: Polity. Part IV ‘The Kantian Project and the Divided West: Does the Constitutionalisation of International Law Still Have a Chance?’

Hurrell, A. (1990) ‘Kant and the Kantian Paradigm in International Relations Theory’, Review of International Studies 16(3): 183-205.

Jahn, B. (2005) ‘Kant, Mill and Illiberal Legacies in International Affairs’, International Organization 59(1): 177-207.

Kant, I. (1784) ‘An Answer to the Question: “What is Enlightenment?”’ in Reiss, H. (ed.), Kant: Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Kleingeld, P. (1999) ‘Kant, History and the Idea of Moral Development’, History of Philosophy Quarterly 16(1): 59-80.

Richardson, J. (1997) ‘Contending Liberalisms: Past and Present’, European Journal of International Relations 3(1): 5-33.

Russett, B. (2013) ‘Liberalism’, in T. Dunne, et al (eds.) (2013) International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, 3rd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 94-113.  

Williams, M.C. (1992). ‘Reason and Realpolitik: Kant’s “Critique of International Politics”, Canadian Journal of Political Science Association, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 99-119.

Wilkins, B. (1966) ‘Teleology in Kant’s Philosophy of History’, History and Theory 5(2): 172-185.

Angell, N. (1913) The Great Illusion: A Study of the Relation of Military Power to National Advantage, 3rd edn (New York: GP Putnam’s Sons): Part 1, ch.3 AND EITHER Part 2, ch.2 OR ch.3; AND Part 3, ch.4. Available at:

Angell, N. (1912) ‘‘The Great Illusion”: A Reply to Rear-Admiral A.T. Mahan’, The North American Review 195(679): 754-772.

Angell, N. (1932) ‘Popular Education and International Affairs’, International Affairs 11(3): 321-345.

Angell, N. (1940) Why Freedom Matters (Harmondsworth: Penguin) Available at:

Ceadel, M (2011) ‘The Founding Text of International Relations? Norman Angell’s Seminal yet Flawed The Great Illusion (1909-1938)’, Review of International Studies 37(4): 1671-1693.

Copeland, D.C. (1996) ‘Economic Interdependence and War’, International Security 20(4): 5-41.

Howard, M. (2000) The Invention of Peace and The Reinvention of War 2nd edn. (New York: Profile Books), esp. ch.3, 4. (ebook)

Novari, C. (1989) ‘The Great Illusion Revisited: The International Theory of Norman Angell’, Review of International Studies 15(4): 341-358.

Osiander, A. (1998) ‘Rereading Early Twentieth-Century IR Theory: Idealism Revisited’, International Studies Quarterly 42(3): 409-432.

Richardson, J. (1997) ‘Contending Liberalisms: Past and Present’, European Journal of International Relations 3(1): 5-33.

Doyle, M.W. (1983) ‘Kant, Liberal Legacies and Foreign Affairs’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 12(3): 205-235.

Doyle, M.W. (1983) ‘Kant, Liberal Legacies and Foreign Affairs, Part 2’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 12(4): 323-353, esp. 323-343.

Barkawi, T. and M. Laffey (1999) ‘The Imperial Peace: Democracy, Force and Globalization’, European Journal Of International Relations 5(4): 403-434.

Brown, M. et al. (eds.) (1996) Debating The Democratic Peace (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), esp. chapters by Russett, Doyle, Owen, Oren, Mansfield & Snyder [TColl JW42.DEB/ EBook]

Burchill, S. (2013) ‘Liberalism’, in S. Burchill and A. Linklater (eds.) Theories of International Relations, 5th edn (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), 57-87 [ebook (previous editions)/ TColl/ Shelves: JZ1242.THE]

Carlsnaes, W. (ed.) (1995) Special Issue on the Democratic Peace, European Journal of International Relations 1(4), 427-571.

Cavallar, G. (2001) ‘Kantian Perspectives on Democratic Peace: Alternatives to Doyle’, Review Of International Studies 27(2): 299-248.

Chan, S. (1997) ‘In Search of Democratic Peace: Problems and Promise’, Mershon International Studies Review 41(2): 59-91.

Jahn, B. (2005) ‘Kant, Mill and Illiberal Legacies in International Affairs’, International Organization 59(1): 177-207.

Layne, C. (1994) ‘Kant or Cant: The Myth of the Democratic Peace’, International Security 19(2): 5-49.

MacMillan, J. (2004) ‘Liberalism and the Democratic Peace’, Review of International Studies 30(2): 179-200.

McDonald, P.J. (2015) ‘Great Powers, Hierarchy, and Endogenous Regimes: Rethinking the Domestic Causes of Peace’, International Organization 69(3): 557-588.

Mansfield, E.D. and J. Snyder (1995) ‘Democratization and the Danger of War’, International Security 20(1): 5-38.

Oren, I. (1995) ‘The Subjectivity Of The ‘Democratic’ Peace: Changing U.S. Perceptions Of Imperial Germany’, International Security 20(2): 147–184.

Richardson, J. (1997) ‘Contending Liberalisms: Past and Present’, European Journal of International Relations 3(1): 5-33.

Russett, B. (1993) Grasping The Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War World (Princeton: Princeton University Press) [ebook/ JW42.RUS]

Wilson, W. (1916) ‘Address Delivered at the First Annual Assemblage of the League to Enforce Peace: “American Principles”‘. PDF available below on this QMPLUS page. 

Stimson, H.L. (1932) ‘The Pact of Paris: Three Years of Development’, Foreign Affairs, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. i-ix. 

Thompson, K. W. (1953) ‘Collective Security Reexamined’, The American Political Science Review, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 753-772. 

Mats Berdal, The United Nations Security Council: Ineffective but Indispensable’, Survival, (Summer 2003). 

Richard K. Betts, ‘Systems for Peace or Causes of War? Collective Security, Arms Control and the New Europe’, International Security, vol. 17, no. 1, 1992, pp. 5-43. 

David Davies, ‘An International Police Force?’, International Affairs, vol. 11, no.1, 1932, pp. 76-99.

George Down, Collective Security Beyond the Cold War(University of Michigan Press, 1994). 

Erich Hula, ‘Fundamentals of Collective Security’, Social Research, vol. 24, no. 1, 1957 pp. 1-36.

Andrew Hurrell, ‘Collective Security and International Order Revisited’, International Relations, vol. 11, no. 1, 1992. 

Charles A. Kupchan and Clifford A. Kupchan, ‘The Promise of Collective Security’, International Security, vol. 20, no. 1, 1995. 

John J. Mearsheimer, ‘The False Promises of International Institutions’, International Security, vol. 19, no. 3, 1994-95. 

L. Miller, ‘The Idea and Reality of Collective Security’, Global Governance, 1999. 

H. Milner, ‘International Theories of Cooperation among Nations: Strengths and Weaknesses’, World Politics, 1992.

Joseph S. Nye, ‘The Failure of Collective Security and World War II’, in his Understanding International Conflict: An Introduction to Theory and History (New York: Pearson Longman, 2007). 

Roberts, A., ‘The United Nations: Variants of Collective Security’, N. Woods (ed.), Explaining International Relations since 1945(Oxford: OUP: 1996).

Roland Stromberg, ‘The Idea of Collective Security’, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 17, no. 2, 1956. 

Hidemi Suganami, The Domestic Analogy and World Order Proposals (Cambridge: CUP 1989).

Kenneth W. Thompson, ‘Collective Security Revisited’, The American Political Science Review, vol. 47, no.3, 1953, pp. 753-772. 

Thomas G. Weiss (ed.), Collective Security in a Changing World (Boulder Co.: Lynnes Rienner, 1993). 

Woodrow Wilson, Fourteen Points, speech, Washington 1918. Online here:

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