Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Felix E. Martin

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

John F. Clark

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Francisco O. Mora

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Gwyn Davies

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


international relations

Date of Defense



The present dissertation studies why South American states have fought so few wars among one another since their independence in the early 1800s, and why those wars in which they did enter were limited in intensity, casualty rates, number of battles, and overall duration. It offers an extensive review of the literature on South America’s “long peace” and advances two critiques. First, that the existing studies have usually followed either a narrow quantitative definition of war, or a broad qualitative definition of peace. And second, that the literature tends to neglect the relevance of the 19th century in the historical formation underpinning South America’s “long peace.” In this context, and drawing from the International Society perspective, the dissertation argues that between the mid-1860s and the late 1930s, the region developed from a mere system to a society of states through the consolidation of three key factors: first, a common interest in restraining, or “taming,” war in the region; second, the progressive institutionalization of regional order and cooperation; and third, the emergence of a “pragmatic solidarity” among South American neighbors when facing common threats as a region. Drawing from a large pool of primary and secondary sources collected in eight South American countries, the dissertation offers a process-tracing analysis of these three causal-mechanisms across four historical case-studies: the Guano War (1864–1871), the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870), the War of the Pacific (1879–1884); and the Chaco War (1932–1935). For each case, six alternative hypotheses are tested in detail against both the historical record and the leading hypothesis.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).