Snyder, Jack 1951–

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Snyder, Jack 1951–

(Jack Lewis Snyder)


Born February 6, 1951, in Allentown, PA. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1973; Columbia University, Russian Institute certificate, 1978, Ph.D., 1981.


Home—New York, NY. Office—Institute of War and Peace Studies, Department of Political Science, Columbia University, 1327 International Affairs Bldg., 420 West 118 St., New York, NY 10027; fax: 212-222-0598. E-mail—[email protected]


Columbia University, New York City, assistant professor, 1982-88, associate professor, 1988-91, professor of political science, 1991—, chair of department, 1997-2000, currently Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations, director of Institute of War and Peace Studies, 1994-97.


Social Science Research Council (chair of Committee on International Peace and Security, 1997-99), American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


The Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision-making and the Disasters of 1914, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1984.

Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1991.

(Editor, with Robert Jervis, and contributor) Dominoes and Bandwagons: Strategic Beliefs and Great Power Competition in the Eurasian Rimland, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1991.

(Editor, with Robert Jervis) Coping with Complexity in the International System, Westview (Boulder, CO), 1993.

(Editor, with Barbara Walter, and contributor) Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1999.

From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2000.

Transitions to Democracy and the Rise of Nationalist Conflict, Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations (Jerusalem, Israel), 2000.

(Editor, with Karen Mingst) Essential Readings in World Politics, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2001, third edition 2008.

(Coauthor with Edward D. Mansfield) Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War, MIT Press (Boston, MA), 2005.

Contributor to books, including After the Cold War, edited by Sean Lynn-Jones, MIT Press, 1991; and Ethnic Conflict and International Security, edited by Michael E. Brown, Princeton University Press, 1993. Co-editor of "International History and Politics" series, Princeton University Press; editor of "International Relations" series, W.W. Norton. Contributor of articles to professional journals, including International Security, Foreign Affairs, American Political Science Review, International Organization, and World Politics. Reviews editor of International Organization.


Columbia University professor of political science Jack Snyder specializes in the study of the relationship between violence and government. His works From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict and Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War, both deal with the question of government-directed violence, its role in emerging democratic nations, and the reasons it emerges in those places. From Voting to Violence looks at the policy of promoting democracy worldwide, a policy advocated and followed by both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The problem has been that democracy has not led to world peace, as both administrations hoped. "Threatened by change, traditional elites often thwart the move toward popular rule," explained Foreign Affairs contributor G. John Ikenberry, "by fanning the flames of ethnic and nationalist conflict."

Snyder suggests that the way to avoid nationalist conflict (including the types of ethnic violence that tore countries such as Yugoslavia and Rwanda apart during the 1990s) is to promote the growth of civic institutions and a solid middle class before advocating the growth of democracy. "At a time when support of democracy is almost reflexive, these are startling prescriptions," wrote Martin Walker in the Wilson Quarterly. "But Snyder makes a powerful case, one with which ancient Greeks and classical-minded Enlightenment figures such as Burke and Gibbon would have been familiar. Although the Russian election came too late for the author's deadline, his thesis helps explain why so many Russian reformers have soft-pedaled their democratic aspirations to back Vladimir Putin." "As new democracies mature," Vanessa Bush stated in Booklist, "they are less likely to experience such conflicts, and … three of four democratizing states have avoided war." "Exceptionally well-organized and clearly written," a Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded, "Snyder's book provides a fresh look at the debate over the process of introducing democracy into formerly authoritarian countries."



Booklist, April 15, 2000, Vanessa Bush, review of From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict, p. 1507.

International Organization, September 22, 1995, Ethan B. Kapstein, review of Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition, p. 751.

Parameters, December 22, 2007, Bradley L. Bowman, review of Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War, p. 124.

Political Science Quarterly, December 22, 2006, Bruce Russett, review of Electing to Fight, p. 701.

Publishers Weekly, March 27, 2000, review of From Voting to Violence, p. 64.

Wilson Quarterly, September 22, 2000, Martin Walker, review of From Voting to Violence, p. 134.


Foreign Affairs, (May 10, 2008), G. John Ikenberry, review of From Voting to Violence.

Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs Web site, (May 10, 2008), author profile.