Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. William A. Ritchie

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan C. Isaak

Third Advisor

Dr. Peter Renstrom

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The thesis is an archival study of international relations. This thesis will analyze the Machtpolitik, or power politics, doctrine from its beginnings in Plato's Republic to the present day. In considering this evolution the thesis will seek to address the following three main questions. First, does traditional machtpolitik doctrine still exist today? Second, has the rise of democratic systems of government limited the effectiveness of diplomacy? Third, what are the causes of international instability? The debate over these questions in modern times is framed by three main factions: Idealists, Descriptive Realists, and Normative Realists. Each of these positions will be discussed in the thesis and the conclusion will present Friedrich Nietzsche as an unique exemplar of the idealist school.