UNT Theses and Dissertations - 110 Matching Results

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Democratic Pantheism in the Political Theory of Alexis de Tocqueville

Description: According to Alexis de Tocqueville, humanity is entering a new age of political and social equality, a new epoch in which the human race has no historical example or experience. As a result, he holds humanity's future will be largely determined by the political and moral choices made in this transitional time. For Tocqueville, the new egalitarian era is a forgone conclusion, but for him, the pressing question is whether humanity will choose a future in which it enchains itself to new forms of tyranny, or, whether the human race can establish the political and moral institutions designed to assure human freedom and dignity. In Tocqueville's view, liberty or slavery are the two choices modern men and women have in front of them, and it is the intent of this dissertation to explore Tocqueville's warning in regard to the latter choice. Tocqueville warns us that modern democratic peoples must beware of the moral and political effects of a new type of political philosophy, a political theory he terms democratic pantheism. Democratic pantheism is a philosophic doctrine that treats egalitarianism as a "religion" in which all social and political striving is directed toward realizing a providentially ordained strict equality of conditions. To attain this end, modern humanity gives up its right to self-government to an all-powerful "representative" state that will unconsciously (and as a result, unjustly) force equality on unequal human beings. Because this philosophy informs the core "soul" of a pantheistic social state, the vast majority of individuals are blissfully unaware that their humanity is diminished and their freedom is lost. The effect is a political and intellectual torpor wherein democratic citizens fall prey to a deterministic and insipid existence; and any thoughts of true independence and freedom of action are eventually extinguished--all due to the unknowing acceptance of a ...
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Date: May 2006
Creator: Bearry, Brian Anthony
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Does Cultural Heterogeneity Lead to Lower Levels of Regime Respect for Basic Human Rights?

Description: This dissertation is a cross-national investigation of the relationship between cultural heterogeneity and regimes' respect for basic human rights. The quantitative human rights literature has not yet addressed the question of whether high levels of cultural diversity are beneficial or harmful. My research addresses this gap. I address the debate between those who argue that diversity is negatively related to basic human rights protection and those who argue it is likely to improve respect for these rights. Ultimately, I propose that regimes in diverse countries will be less likely to provide an adequate level of subsistence (otherwise known as basic human needs) and security rights (also known as integrity of the person rights) to their citizens than regimes in more homogeneous countries. Using a data set of 106 non-OECD countries for the years 1983 and 1993, I employ bivariate, linear multivariate regression, and causal modeling techniques to test whether higher levels of ethnolinguistic and religious diversity are associated with less regime respect for subsistence and security rights. The analysis reveals that higher levels of cultural diversity do appear to lead to lower respect for subsistence rights. However, counter to the hypothesized relationship, high levels of diversity appear to be compatible with high levels of respect for security rights.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Walker, Scott
Partner: UNT Libraries

Does Euroscepticism Matter? the Effect of Public Opinion on Integration

Description: This dissertation seeks to test the proposition that public opinion is a driving force in integration, and thus examines the effect of euroscepticism on EU integration. Utilizing an understanding of integration as the process of European states achieving similar legal, social, cultural, political and economic policy outcomes while ceding greater policy power to European institutions, the relationship between aggregate level euroscepticism in EU member states (the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, and Sweden) and speed of compliance with EU policies is examined. More specifically, this dissertation examines the relationship between aggregate level euroscepticism in an EU member state, and the speed at which that state transposes EU directives. In testing this relationship a number of contextual conditions are examined, including the role of issue salience, domestic party systems, and electoral conditions. The findings of this dissertation suggest that the widely held belief that public opinion is driving European integration may be false.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Williams, Christopher J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Domestic Influences for Interstate Cooperation: Do Domestic Conditions Affect the Occurrence of Cooperative Events in Democratic Regimes?

Description: This research addressed two main issues that have become evident in studies of interstate cooperation. The first issue has to do with the relationship between cooperation and conflict. Can they be represented on a single, uni-dimensional continuum, or are they better represented by two theoretically and empirically separable dimensions? Granger causality tests were able to clarify the nature of cooperative events. The second issue is related to factors that might facilitate or discourage cooperation with other countries as a foreign policy tool. Factors used to explain cooperation and conflict include domestic variables, which have not been fully accounted for in previous empirical analyses. It is hypothesized that economic variables, such as inflation rates, GDP, and manufacturing production indices affect the likelihood of cooperative event occurrences. The effect of political dynamics, such as electoral cycles, support rates and national capability status, can also affect the possibility of cooperative foreign policies. The domestic factors in panel data was tested with Feasible Generalized Least Square (FGLS) in order to take care of heteroscedasticity and autocorrelations in residuals. The individual case analysis used linear time series analysis.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Yi, Seong-Woo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ecological Sustainability and Peace: The Effect of Ecological Sustainability on Interstate and Intrastate Environmental Conflict

Description: This study examines the relationship between ecological sustainability and violent conflict at both the interstate and intrastate level. In particular, this study explores the effect of ecological sustainability of a society on the initiation and the occurrence of violent conflict. By developing a theory, which is named "Eco-peace," this study hypothesizes that the more ecologically sustainable the socioeconomic system of societies, the less likely the society is to initiate interstate conflict. Regarding intrastate conflict, it is hypothesized that the more ecologically sustainable the mode of development pursued by the Third World society is, the more likely that society is to experience intrastate conflicts. To test the hypotheses, this study conducts cross-national time-series analyses for 97-127 countries. Negative binomial and Poisson models are used for interstate conflict during 1960-2001, and logit and rare event logit models are used for intrastate conflict during 1960-1999. Militarized interstate dispute dataset and Uppsala Armed Conflict Program dataset are employed for interstate and intrastate conflict. For ecological sustainability, Ecological sustainability factor index and Environmental sustainability index are used. Through the analyses, this study found the supports for the theoretical argument that the ecologically unsustainable modes of development cause the initiation of interstate conflict and the incidence of intra-state conflict in the Third World.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Yoon, Jong-Han
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Elections and Authoritarian Rule: Causes and Consequences of Adoption of Grassroots Elections in China

Description: This dissertation investigates the relationship between elections and authoritarian rule with a focus on the case of China's adoption of elections at the grassroots level. In this dissertation, I look at the incentives facing Chinese local governments in choosing between holding competitive elections or state-controlled elections, and how the selection of electoral rules shapes the public's preferences over political institutions and influences the citizens' political behaviors, especially voting in elections and participation in contentious activities. The overarching theme in this dissertation proposes that the sources and consequences of Chinese local elections are conditioned on the state-owned resources and the governing costs. When the amount of state-owned resources to rule the local society is limited, the paucity of resources will incentivize authoritarian governments to liberalize grassroots elections to offset the governance costs. The various levels of election liberalization will lead to different consequences in the public's political behavior. An abundance of state-owned resources not only discourages rulers from sharing power with the local society, but also supplies the rulers with strong capacity to obtain loyalty from voters when elections are adopted. As a result, elections under authoritarian governments with an abundance of state-owned resources will see more loyalist voters than elections with authoritarian governments with fewer state-owned resources. In addition, the varieties of election practices will exert impacts on public opinion toward the authoritarian government: awareness of elections will enhance public trust in the government and decrease the public's intention to challenge the incumbents' authority while at the same time increasing the public's faith in the institutions, thereby encouraging the public to adopt official channels to air their grievances. The analysis of the village-level as well as individual-level survey data and cases lends empirical supports to the argument. First, I find that the governing costs—measured by the size of labor force—are ...
Date: August 2017
Creator: Tzeng, Wei Feng
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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 the risk of civil war outbreak, yet when interacting with the degree to which political parties are broad or narrow, there is a significant effect on the outbreak of civil war. Second, the results show that post-conflict states with party centered electoral systems (closed list PR system) are less likely to have an outbreak of civil war when more seats in the parliament are controlled by broad-based parties. In addition, I conduct a comparative case study analysis of two post-conflict states, Angola (1975-1992) and Mozambique (1975-1994), using the most similar systems (MSS) research design.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Kisin, Tatyana Tuba Kelman
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Empirical Study of the Causes of Military Coups and the Consequences of Military Rule in the Third World: 1960-1985

Description: This study analyzed the causes of military coups and the consequences of military rule in the Third World during the 1960-1985 period. Using a coup d" etat score, including both successful and unsuccessful coups, as a dependent variable and collecting data for 109 developing nations from the World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators, The New York Times Index, and public documents, sixteen hypotheses derived from the literature on the causes of military coups were tested by both simple and multiple regression models for the Third World as a whole, as well as for four regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa) and in two time periods (1960-1970 and 1971-1985). Similarly, three models of military rule (progressive, Huntington's, and revisionist models) were analyzed to assess the consequences of military rule. The results of the study concerning the causes of military coups suggest four conclusions. First, three independent variables (social mobilization, cultural homogeneity, and dominant ethnic groups in the society) have stabilizing consequences. Second, six independent variables (previous coup experience, social mobilization divided by political institutionalization, length of national independence, economic deterioration, internal war, and military dominance) have destabilizing consequences. Third, multiple regression models for each region are very useful; most models explain more than 50% of the variance in military coups. Fourth, the time period covered is an important factor affecting explanations of the causes of military coups. In the analysis of the consequences of military rule, this study found that military governments did not differ significally from civilian governments in terms of economic, education, health, and social performances. However, the study found that military rule decreased political and civil rights. Its findings are thus very consistent with the best of the literature.
Date: May 1988
Creator: Kanchanasuwon, Wichai, 1955-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Endogenous Information and Inter-state War Expansion

Description: Scholars have long debated the causes of late third party state joining in ongoing inter-state wars. This research has generally concluding that peace-time conditions, measured in terms of: third party capabilities; proximity to warring states; and inter-state alliances, are determining factors in the decision to join. However, these studies utilize theories derived from static pre-war measures of capabilities and motivation to explain late joining; indeed, the same measures that fail to predict participation at war's outset. Further, extant research has no explanation for why weak and non-proximate states every participate. Existing theory thus fails to provide a comprehensive explanation of joining behavior. This project contends that a resolution lies the interaction between pre-war conditions and intra-war events. Intra-war events that are allowed to vary on a per battle basis, including change in combat location and alliance entry and exit from combat, reveal new information about the war and its progress, thereby forcing third party states to recalculate their initial decision to abstain in relation to their pre-existing situation. Incorporation of intra-war processes helps to better explain decisions by third party states to join ongoing inter-state wars late in their development, and why states that frequently choose to abstain (e.g., weak states) ever choose to participate. This project is executed using a combination of ex post facto historical case studies, a theory of joining based on pre and intra-war environments, and large-N empirical analysis on all inter-state wars 1823-1988, conducted utilizing a novel collection of event-level data based on inter-state war battles.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Liebel, Steven R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Energy Policy in the Republic of China and Japan, 1970-1985: A Comparative Examination of Energy Politics and Policies

Description: The impact of the energy crises in the 1970s hit all oil-importing countries much harder than it hit countries endowed with domestic supplies of energy. Energy politics and policies for the oil-importing countries have become vital issues that need to be examined. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine and compare the energy politics and policy processes in the Republic of China (ROC) and Japan during the period of 1970-1985. The study focuses on the politics of energy policies, using a policy analysis or systems framework for examining the policy processes in the two countries. A comparison is made of energy environments, the political actors, the institutions, and finally the substance of energy policy. An assessment is then made of the effects or consequences of energy policies on these two countries. In attempting to study energy politics and policies in these two Asian countries, the researcher began with a policy model or conceptual schema of energy politics from which the researcher raised a number of research questions. These questions were used to guide the direction of the study. A comparison was first made of energy systems, and then the major actors in the energy resources field were identified by comparing the political systems. Comparison of the political systems in energy politics helped to explain the differences in the political outcomes of energy policy. An assessment was made by using a series of multiple regression models to assess and compare the consequences of energy policies in these two countries. The final purpose of this dissertation is to develop a conceptual model or framework, for understanding the complexity, uncertainty, and interrelatedness of energy policies. The researcher concludes that comparative policy studies are useful and provide insights which otherwise would be missed.
Date: August 1987
Creator: Wang, Han-Kuo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ethnic Politics in New States: Russian and Serbian Minorities After Secession

Description: New states are often born in a volatile environment, in which the survival of the new country is uncertain. While analysis of the nationalizing new governments exists, research focuses mainly on domestic politics. I argue that the treatment of minority that remains in the new states is a function of the interaction of the dual threat posed by the minority itself domestically on one hand and the international threat coming from the mother state to protect its kin abroad on the other hand. Specifically, I argue that there is a curvilinear relationship between domestic and international threat and the extent of discrimination against the politically relevant minority. Most discrimination takes place when domestic and international threats are moderate because in this case there is a balance of power between the government, the minority, and the rump state. With time-series-cross-sectional (TSCS) data analysis this dissertation systematically tests the treatment of Russian and Serbian minorities in all post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav states between 1991 and 2006 and finds statistically significant results for the curvilinear hypothesis. Territorial concentration of the minority and the ratio of national capabilities between the mother and the seceded states prove to be especially important predictors of minority treatment. In addition, with most similar systems (MSS), most different systems (MDS) design methods, and directed case studies I apply the curvilinear hypothesis to the Russian minority in the Baltic States and the Central Asian Republics, and also to the Serb minority in the countries of the former Yugoslavia to present a detailed analysis.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Batta, Anna
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ethnic Similarity and Rivalry Relations

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 supporting secessions by their co-ethnics. These pairs of rivals also are more likely to attempt peace settlements. Contested nations, which are rivalry-dyads with similar ethnic majorities, are both the most likely of the ethnically similar rival categories to engage in militarized interstate disputes, but also engage in larger amounts of interstate trade.
Date: December 2014
Creator: McCallister, Gerald L. Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Examining the Effect of Security Environment on U.S. Unilateral Military Intervention in Civil Conflicts

Description: This study focuses on how perceived security environment affect U.S. unilateral, military intervention in civil conflicts, using the concept of Bayesian learning to illustrate how threat perceptions are formed, how they change, and how they affect the U.S. decision to intervene militarily in civil conflicts. I assess the validity of two primary hypotheses: (1) the U.S. is more likely to intervene in civil conflicts with connections to a threatening actor or ideology; and (2) the U.S. is more likely to intervene in civil conflicts for humanitarian motives in a less threatening security context. To test these hypotheses, I compare U.S. military intervention in three temporal contexts reflecting more threatening security contexts (Cold War and post-9/11) and less threatening security contexts (1992-2001). Results of logit regression analysis reveal that a conflict’s connection to a threatening actor or ideology is the most statistically and substantively significant determinant of U.S. military intervention in civil conflicts, both in more and less threatening security contexts. They also indicate that humanitarian motives are not a statistically significant determinant of U.S. military intervention in civil conflicts, even in a more benign security environment. These findings imply that U.S. unilateral military intervention is reserved for more direct national security threats, even those that are less grave, and that the perception of the U.S. as “global cop” may be misleading, at least in terms of unilateral military intervention.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Aubone, Amber
Partner: UNT Libraries

Exogenous Influences and Paths To Activism

Description: The focus of this research was to ascertain the indirect effects upon activism of intervening variables and recognized exogenous influences upon activism. In addition, this research also focused upon the differences and similarities of a recruited activist model and spontaneous activist model. Regression and path analysis were used to measure the direct and indirect effects of the exogenous and intervening variables. This research found that when the intervening variables, political interest, political awareness, exposure to media, altruism, and self-interest were introduced to both the recruited and spontaneous models, the direct effects of the variables were enhanced.
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Date: May 2000
Creator: Ray, Grady Dale
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External Inputs and North Korea's Confrontation Policy: A Case Study of Linkage Politics

Description: In an inquiry into national behavior, students of international relations treat national data as independent variables. Students of comparative politics treat them as dependent variables in an attempt to compute foreign policy outputs. There is reason to believe that international and comparative studies can be incorporated into a system of linkage politics. This study employs the framework of "linkage politics" of James N. Rosenau in an attempt to investigate the North Korean confrontation policy from 1953 to 1970. The basic assumption upon which this research operates is that the foreign policy of the North Korea has been a function of "fused linkages" between the nation's international environment and national conditions. "Fused linkage" is defined as a phenomenon by which certain national outputs and environmental inputs reciprocate in a continuous cycle. Thus the fused linkage case for North Korea's confrontation is defined as "circular confrontation." Based on Rosenau's proposed linkage framework, this study presents its own analytical framework. The major linkage groups are conceived of "exogenous" and "endogenous" conditions. Both of these conditions are divided into "constants" and "variables" and are treated as such. Each of these conditions was in turn analyzed with reference to relevant referents. Throughout the study particular attention is given to linkage processes between the two conditions.
Date: May 1973
Creator: Kim, Yu-Nam, 1939-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Factors Affecting the Efficient Performance of the Thai State Railway Authority: a Time-Series Data Analysis

Description: The Thai State Railway Authority (RSR) is a public enterprise in Thailand. As an organization its performance is subject to the argument of contingency theorists that operating efficiency is dependent upon various factors both in the internal and external environments of the enterprise. Most of the internal factors are those that organization theorists in the developed world have identified such as goals and objectives, resources, and organization structures. Meanwhile, external factors such as political, economic and social conditions of the society are regarded as indirect factors that have less importance than do the internal factors. Scholars of the developing world have argued that political, social and economic conditions in the society are as important as internal factors. These factors may have a very significant influence on the enterprises and on the society as a whole. Consequently, public enterprises in developing countries always encounter the same problem of operating inefficiency. The RSR is selected as a case study because of its advantages over the other public enterprises in Thailand in terms of size of operation, length of service, and data availability. For the purpose of this project, data are collected from 1960 to 1984 for longitudinal analysis. The methods of analysis are divided into two major sections: simple regression testing and multiple regression testing. The principal component technique is used in both testings to reduce variables to a smaller number for further analysis. The simple regression tests yielded mixed results, but the multiple regression tests resulted in significant relationships. The three new factors derived from the factor analysis technique were labeled as "the organizational pressures," "the socio-political downturn," and "the public criticisms." They explained 84% of all the variance of operating efficiency. The other 16% was the effect of other factors including the management skills, which were excluded from this analysis.
Date: August 1988
Creator: Chalermpol Waitayangkoon
Partner: UNT Libraries

Financial Transfer and Its Impact on the Level of Democracy: A Pooled Cross-Sectional Time Series Model.

Description: This dissertation is a pooled time series, cross-sectional, quantitative study of the impact of international financial transfer on the level of democracy. The study covers 174 developed and developing countries from 1976 through 1994. Through evaluating the democracy and democratization literature and other studies, the dissertation develops a theory and testable hypotheses about the impact of the international variables foreign aid and foreign direct investment on levels of democracy. This study sought to determine whether these two financial variables promote or nurture democracy and if so, how? A pooled time-series cross-sectional model is developed employing these two variables along with other relevant control variables. Control variables included the presence of the Cold War and existence of formal alliance with the United States, which account for the strategic dimension that might affect the financial transfer - level of democracy linkage. The model also includes an economic development variable (per capita Gross National Product) to account for the powerful impact for economic development on the level of democracy, as well as a control for each country's population size. By addressing and the inclusion of financial, economic, strategic, and population size effects, I consider whether change in these variables affect the level of democracy and in which direction. The dissertation tests this model by employing several techniques. The variables are subjected to bivariate and multivariate analysis including bivariate correlations, analysis of variance, and ordinary least square (OLS) multivariate regression with robust matrix and a lagged dependent variable. Panel corrected standard error (PCSE) was also employed to empirically test the pooled timeseries cross-sectional multivariate model. The dissertation analytical section concludes with path analysis testing which showed the impact of each of the independent variables on the dependent variable. The findings indicate less impact of international financial variables upon the level of democracy than hypothesized. ...
Date: May 2003
Creator: Al-Momani, Mohammad H.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Foreign Policy-Making in Jordan: the Role of King Hussein's Leadership in Decision-Making

Description: The purpose of this study is to identify King Hussein's belief system, or operational code as it is called by George and Holsti, and to test its influence on foreign policymaking in Jordan. The research has three related goals: to identify King Hussein's operational code through analysis of his writings and speeches during the period between 1967 and 1980, to review four major foreign policy decisions in an attempt to understand the factors affecting the decision making process in Jordan, and to analyze these decisions to ascertain the impact of the king's personality and beliefs on them in order to discover whether the operational code construct can be used to predict or explain Jordan's foreign policy behavior.
Date: December 1989
Creator: Rashdan, Abdelfattah A. (Abdelfattah Ali)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Foreign Sponsorship and the Development of Rebel Parties

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.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Marshall, Michael C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Fractional Integration and Political Modeling

Description: This dissertation investigates the consequences of fractional dynamics for political modeling. Using Monte Carlo analyses, Chapters II and III investigate the threats to statistical inference posed by including fractionally integrated variables in bivariate and multivariate regressions. Fractional differencing is the most appropriate tool to guard against spurious regressions and other threats to inference. Using fractional differencing, multivariate models of British politics are developed in Chapter IV to compare competing theories regarding which subjective measure of economic evaluations best predicts support levels for the governing party; egocentric measures outperform sociotropic measures. The concept of fractional cointegration is discussed and the value of fractionally integrated error correction mechanisms are both discussed and demonstrated in models of Conservative party support. In Chapter V models of presidential approval in the United States are reconfigured in light of the possibilities of fractionally integrated variables. In both the British and American case accounting for the fractional character of all variables allows the development of more accurate multivariate models.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Lebo, Matthew Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Friends of the State Courts: Organized Interests and State Courts of Last Resort

Description: Why do interest groups participate in state courts of last resort by filing amicus curiae briefs? Are they influential when they do? This dissertation examines these questions using an original survey of organized interests that routinely participate in state supreme courts, as well as data on all amicus curiae briefs and majority opinions in over 14,000 cases decided in all fifty-two state supreme courts for a four year period. I argue that interest groups turn to state judiciaries to achieve the dual goals of influencing policy and organizational maintenance, as amicus briefs can help organized interests achieve both outcomes. Furthermore, I contend that amicus briefs are influential in shaping judicial policy-making through the provision of legally persuasive arguments. The results suggest that interest groups do file amicus briefs to both lobby for their preferred policies and to support their organization's long-term viability. Additionally, the results indicate that organized interests also participate in counteractive lobbying in state courts of last resort by filing amicus briefs to ensure their side is represented and to dull the effect of oppositional amici. The findings also demonstrate support for the influence of amicus briefs on judicial policy-making on state high courts, as amicus briefs can influence the ideological direction of the court's majority opinions. Overall, this research extends our understanding of interest group lobbing in the judiciary and in state policy venues, and provides insight into judicial politics and policy-making on state courts of last resort.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Perkins, Jared David
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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 to understand how Aristotle's Ethics is a work of political philosophy; to fully appreciate the significance of his approach, however, we must contrast his work with that of Thomas Hobbes, his harshest Modern critic. Unlike Aristotle, Hobbes is nearly silent on friendship in his political philosophy, and examining his political works especially Leviathan reveals the absence of friendship is part of his deliberate attempt to advance a politics founded on the moral teaching that pleasure is the good. Aristotle's political philosophy, by way of contrast, aims to preserve the good, and through friendship, he not only disentangles the good from ...
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Date: May 2015
Creator: Pascarella, John Antonio
Partner: UNT Libraries