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War and Democratic ConstraintHow the Public Influences Foreign Policy$
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Matthew A. Baum and Philip B. K. Potter

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164984

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164984.001.0001

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Introduction: Looking for Democratic Constraint

Introduction: Looking for Democratic Constraint

(p.1) 1 Introduction: Looking for Democratic Constraint
War and Democratic Constraint

Matthew A. Baum

Philip B. K. Potter

Princeton University Press

This book examines how media and electoral institutions influence the extent of democratic constraint by shaping the flow of information from leaders to citizens. It asks why, when it comes to foreign policy, some leaders are seemingly constrained by public opinion, even in the earliest stages of policy formulation, while others are more insulated from it. It argues that the reliability of the flow of information from elites to the masses most directly determines the degree to which citizens can constrain their leaders. The book considers two aspects of democratic systems that affect both the generation and the flow of information about foreign policy by influencing the extent of independent political opposition and their ability to reach the public with their messages: political opposition and media access.

Keywords:   media, electoral institutions, democratic constraint, information, leaders, foreign policy, public opinion, elites, political opposition, media access

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