Date of Award

Fall 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Stacy D VanDeveer


This thesis explores the structural effects of nationalism on the international state system using Alexander Wendt's "cultures of anarchy" typology. The quantitative portion employs a logistic regression model to determine whether states with "stronger" national identities are less likely to pursue territorial conquest as a goal of using force. Because of the problematic nature of measuring nationalism quantitatively, case studies in US foreign policy towards the Dominican Republic are used to highlight the ways that appeals to the anti-conquest norm are often justified on the basis of national self-determination. Leaving open the issue of whether the anti-conquest norm is a causal factor in explaining the relative paucity of territorial conquest since 1945, I find that the anti-conquest itself is largely constituted by ideas about the legitimacy of national self-determination.