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 Degree Discipline: Political Science
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Foreign Sponsorship and the Development of Rebel Parties

Foreign Sponsorship and the Development of Rebel Parties

Date: December 2015
Creator: Marshall, Michael C.
Description: This dissertation examines the emergence, survival, performance, and national impact of rebel parties following negotiated settlements. Building on a growing literature examining the environmental and organizational factors affecting insurgent-to-party transformations, this dissertation asks why some insurgent organizations thrive as political parties in post-conflict environments and others fail to make such a transformation. I propose that foreign actors play a pivotal role in the formation of what I call “protégé parties,” which are better equipped to make the transformation into political parties than other rebel groups. Further, different kinds of sponsors have varying effects on transformation. Empirical analysis supports these propositions, finding that protégé parties with authoritarian sponsorship are better equipped to develop than those backed by democracies or no one.
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Montesquieu, Diversity, and the American Constitutional Debate

Montesquieu, Diversity, and the American Constitutional Debate

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Date: December 2015
Creator: Drummond, Nicholas W.
Description: It has become something of a cliché for contemporary scholars to assert that Madison turned Montesquieu on his head and thereafter give little thought to the Frenchman’s theory that republics must remain limited in territorial size. Madison did indeed present a formidable challenge to Montesquieu’s theory, but I will demonstrate in this dissertation that the authors of the Federalist Papers arrived at the extended sphere by following a theoretical pathway already cemented by the French philosopher. I will also show that Madison’s “practical sphere” ultimately concedes to Montesquieu that excessive territorial size and high levels of heterogeneity will overwhelm the citizens of a republic and enable the few to oppress the many. The importance of this dissertation is its finding that the principal mechanism devised by the Federalists for dealing with factions—the enlargement of the sphere—was crafted specifically for the purpose of moderating interests, classes, and sects within an otherwise relatively homogeneous nation. Consequently, the diverse republic that is America today may be exposed to the existential threat anticipated by Montesquieu’s theory of size—the plutocratic oppression of society by an elite class that employs the strategy of divide et impera.
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Hobbes’s Deceiving God: the Correspondence Between Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes

Hobbes’s Deceiving God: the Correspondence Between Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes

Date: August 2015
Creator: Gorescu, Gabriela
Description: In presenting their correspondence, I highlight the means in which Hobbes is able to divorce nature and politics in his philosophy. This is done by bringing to light Hobbes’s agreement with Descartes’s deceiving God argument. First, I demonstrate Hobbes’s hidden agreement with it by analyzing his objection to Descartes’s first Meditation. Second, I show that Hobbes and Descartes both retreat into consciousness in order to deal with the possibility of deception on the behalf of God. Third, I trace Hobbes’s rational justification for entertaining that very possibility. Fourth, I bring forward Hobbes’s certain principle, that God is incomprehensible. Fifth, I demonstrate Hobbes’s rationalization for rendering nature incomprehensible in turn. From this key insight, the differences between the two philosophers stand out more. Whereas Descartes rids himself of the possibility of a deceiving God, Hobbes does not. Sixth, I show that Descartes needs to rid himself of that possibility in order to have a basis for science, Hobbes’s science is such that he does not need to rid himself of that possibility. My investigation ends by considering both Hobbes’s and Descartes’s stance on nature, in relation to politics. I find that Hobbes’s principle is much more practical that Descartes’s principle. Hobbes’s ...
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The Political Philosophy of Rabelais’s Pantagruel: Reconciling Thought and Action

The Political Philosophy of Rabelais’s Pantagruel: Reconciling Thought and Action

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Date: August 2015
Creator: Haglund, Timothy
Description: Political thinkers of the Renaissance, foremost among them Niccolò Machiavelli and Desiderius Erasmus, authored works commonly referred to as “mirrors of princes.” These writings described how princes should rule, and also often recommended a certain arrangement or relationship between the intellectual class and the political powers. François Rabelais’s five books of Pantagruel also depict and recommend a new relationship between these elements of society. For Rabelais, the tenets of a philosophy that he calls Pantagruelism set the terms between philosophers and rulers. Pantagruelism, defined in Rabelais’s Quart Livre as “gaiety of spirit confected in contempt for fortuitous things,” suggest a measured attitude toward politics. Rabelais’s prince, Pantagruel, accordingly rejects the tendencies of ancient thinkers such as Diogenes the Cynic who viewed politics as futile. Yet Pantagruel also rejects the anti-theoretical disposition of modern thinkers such as Machiavelli who placed too much confidence in politics. I demonstrate how Rabelais warns against the philosophers’ entrance into public service, and how he simultaneously promotes a less selfish philosophy than that of Diogenes. I argue that Pantagruel’s correction of his friend Panurge through the consultations of experts regarding the latter’s marriage problem shows that fortune will always trouble human life and politics. I also ...
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Friendship, Politics, and the Good in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

Friendship, Politics, and the Good in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

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Date: May 2015
Creator: Pascarella, John Antonio
Description: In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Books VIII and IX provide A philosophic examination of friendship. While these Books initially appear to be non sequiturs in the inquiry, a closer examination of the questions raised by the preceding Books and consideration of the discussion of friendship's position between two accounts of pleasure in Books VII and X indicate friendship's central role in the Ethics. In friendship, Aristotle finds a uniquely human capacity that helps readers understand the good is distinct from pleasure by leading them to think seriously about what they can hold in common with their friends throughout their lives without changing who they are. What emerges from Aristotle's account of friendship is a nuanced portrait of human nature that recognizes the authoritative place of the intellect in human beings and how its ability to think about an end and hold its thinking in relation to that end depends upon whether it orders or is ordered by pleasures and pains. Aristotle lays the groundwork for this conclusion throughout the Ethics by gradually disclosing pleasures and pains are not caused solely by things we feel through the senses, but by reasoned arguments and ideas as well. Through this insight, we can begin ...
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Plebiscites

Plebiscites

Date: May 2015
Creator: Fonseca Acosta, Rosa
Description: This study investigates factors that can influence leaders to use plebiscites to settle territorial claims. A quick survey of the plebiscite literature shows that the method has been extensively mentioned in the legal, historical, and philosophical fields (mostly through case studies) but less so in political science. This thesis is the first attempt, to my knowledge, to quantitatively investigate the different factors that can influence a leader to use a plebiscite. Using the latest version of the ICOW dataset, I test political and economic theories to try to explain the variation in the decision outcome. This study includes the following variables: identity ties, economic strength, an interaction between identity ties and economic strength, internal constraints (regime type and violent interaction), and external constraints (membership to international organizations). The results suggest that identity ties offer the strongest explanation as to why leaders settle a territorial claim with a plebiscite. Plebiscites have been rarely used to settle territorial claims, but when used they tend to settle cases permanently. This thesis serves as an attempt to revive a method that while difficult to agree upon, can be successful in resolving territorial claims permanently, and more importantly peacefully.
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Electoral Rules, Political Parties, and Peace Duration in Post-conflict States

Electoral Rules, Political Parties, and Peace Duration in Post-conflict States

Date: December 2014
Creator: Kisin, Tatyana Tuba Kelman
Description: This dissertation examines the following research question: Which types of electoral rules chosen in post-conflict states best promote peace? And are those effects conditional upon other factors? I argue that the effects are conditional upon the types of political parties that exist in the post-conflict environment. Although this explanation is contrary to scholars that speak of political parties as products of the electoral system, political parties often predate the choice of electoral system. Especially in post-conflict states, political parties play an important role in the negotiation process and hence in the design of the electoral rules. I argue that the effects of electoral rules on peace duration are mitigated by the degree to which a party system is broad (nonexclusive) or narrow (exclusive). I develop a theoretical model that led to three hypotheses focusing on the independent role that political parties play in mitigating the effects of electoral rules on peace duration. To test these hypotheses, I use the Cox proportional hazard model on 57 post-conflict states from 1990 to 2009 and had competitive elections. The empirical results show support for the main argument of this study. First, the findings show that electoral rules alone do not increase or decrease ...
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Ethnic Similarity and Rivalry Relations

Ethnic Similarity and Rivalry Relations

Date: December 2014
Creator: McCallister Jr., Gerald L
Description: Research on ethnicity and conflict treats the concept of ethnicity as defining the actors in these conflicts, whereas research on the construction and maintenance of ethnic identity explores why ethnicity unifies individuals into a single social group. What happens when this unifying concept is divided between two enemy countries? How does this situation influence peace settlements over territorial issues, armed conflict, and economic relations between these countries? To answer these questions, I create a continuous measure of ethnic similarity between rivals. I find that ethnic similarity can facilitate cooperation and exacerbate conflictual interactions between rivals, but governments will seek to limit interactions with their rival when the cross border ethnic groups are minorities. In addition, I create categorical predictors of ethnic similarity, which reveal nuances in these relationships. Specifically, rivalries sharing a pan-ethnic identity are more likely to engage in conflict regardless of actual ethnic similarity, and dyads with a majority in one country sharing ethnicity with a minority in another country are less likely to fight once in a state of rivalry. This is because a quid pro quo exists between these rivals where one rival can reduce oppression of the minority in exchange for the other rival not ...
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New Wine in Old Wineskins: Hobbes’s Use and Abuse of Religious Rhetoric

New Wine in Old Wineskins: Hobbes’s Use and Abuse of Religious Rhetoric

Date: December 2014
Creator: Higgins, Nicholas J
Description: Thomas Hobbes’s knowledge of religious doctrine, typology, and use religious rhetoric in his writings is often glossed over in an over-eager attempt to establish his preeminence as a founder of modern political theory and the social contract tradition. Such action, however is an injustice to Hobbes himself, who recognized that in order to establish a new, and arguably radical, political position founded upon reason and nominalist materialism he had to reform people’s understanding of religious revelation, and Christianity specifically. Rather than merely move to a new epistemological foundation, Hobbes was aware that the only way to ensure religion does become a phoenix was to examine and undermine the foundations of religious thought in its own terms. This reformation of religious language, critique of Christianity, and attempt to eliminate man’s belief in their obligation to God was done in order to promote a civil society in which religion was servant of the state. Through reforming religious language, Hobbes was able to demote religion as a worldview; removing man’s fear of the afterlife or obligation to obey God over a civil sovereign. Religious doctrine no longer was in competition with the civil state, but is transformed into a tool of the state, ...
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Not All Truth Commissions Are Alike: Understanding Their Limitations and Impact

Not All Truth Commissions Are Alike: Understanding Their Limitations and Impact

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Date: December 2014
Creator: Nichols, Angela D.
Description: This dissertation project develops a theoretical understanding of how truth commissions achieve legitimacy and thus contribute to peace and stability in the aftermath of major traumatic events (e.g. civil war, mass killings, regime changes). I identify three components of truth commission legitimacy---authority, fairness, and transparency---that facilitate beneficial outcomes for societies emerging from a period of severe human rights repression or civil war. I theorize and test how institutions with these legitimacy characteristics contribute to an increase in respect for human rights and decrease political violence in transitioning societies, thus contributing to peace and stability. In order to test the hypothesized relationships, I create a truth commission characteristic dataset that provides greater detail than existing datasets. This project is a contribution to our understanding of the relationships between human rights, institutions, conflict, and international law. It provides one explanation for the inconsistent findings of extant work concerning the impact of transitional justice, generally and truth commissions, specifically. I provide evidence that there are identifiable "best practices" that truth commissions should consider adopting. This information can assist states, intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations alike in making difficult decisions regarding the transitional justice process, which is expensive and time consuming further necessitating an ...
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