College Honors Program

Date of Creation


Document Type



Political Science

First Advisor

Prof. Vickie Langohr


The United States engaged in coercive democratization (bringing democracy to a country via coercive measures such as occupation) endeavors in both Japan and Iraq, achieving drastically different results. The democratization of Japan is typically regarded as the gold standard of coercive democratization due to Japan’s rapid social and economic development following the United States’ occupation of the country in the years after World War II. The United States’ democratization effort in Iraq, on the other hand, has failed to create such prosperous conditions and has arguably made Iraq more unstable. This thesis seeks to identify why coercive democratization worked in Japan yet failed in Iraq by analyzing a myriad of factors that potentially influenced the outcome of the United States’ democratization efforts in both countries, including factors such as each nation’s history of colonialism, its level of ethnic and religious homo or heterogeneity, historical internal stability/instability, as well as the dedication of resources by the United States to each democratization effort. Ultimately, this thesis aims to contribute an answer to the broader question of whether or not coercive democratization is a worthwhile endeavor for the United States to pursue in the future by attempting to unearth parameters that influence the success or failure of coercive democratization attempts.


Reader: Prof. Stephen Kocs

Departmental Honors thesis for Political Science.