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Political Use of the United States Armed Forces, 1946-1976

Resource Type
Dataset : aggregate data, and event/transaction data
  • Kaplan, Stephen
  • Blechman, Barry
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Defense. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Free Keywords
arms race; armed forces; Cold War; disputes; international politics; military civilian relations; military strategies; military strength; politics; public approval; presidential performance
  • Abstract

    The data in this collection were generated in 1976 as part of a Brookings Institution project studying the use of the United States Armed Forces as a political instrument. By the study's definition, political use of the armed forces occurs when physical actions are taken by one or more components of the uniformed military services as part of a deliberate attempt by the national authorities to influence, or to be prepared to influence, specific behavior of individuals in another nation without engaging in a contest of violence. The study yielded 226 such cases between January 1, 1946, and December 31, 1976. The data can be grouped into seven categories: dates of the events, contextual characteristics of events, types and sizes of United States Armed Forces involved, movement and readiness of forces, activities of forces, non-United States actors involved, and United States public approval of the president within two months of the event.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • 1946 / 1976
    Time period: 1946--1976
  • 1975 / 1976
    Collection date: 1975--1976
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
All incidents (226) in which United States armed forces were used as a discrete political instrument between 1946 and 1976.
Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Defense. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (2820).
This study is freely available to ICPSR member institutions via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 7595 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Fordham, Benjamin. Partisanship, macroeconomic policy, and U.S. uses of force, 1949-1994. Journal of Conflict Resolution.42, (4), 418-439.1998.
    • ID: 10.1177/0022002798042004002 (DOI)
  • Meernik, James. Presidential decision making and the political use of military force. International Studies Quarterly.38, (1), 121-138.1994.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Blechman, Barry M., Kaplan, Stephen S., Hall, David K., et al. Force Without War: U.S. Armed Forces as a Political Instrument. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution. 1978.
  • Blechman, Barry M., Kaplan, Stephen S.. Armed forces as political instruments. Survival (Oxford).19, (4), 169-174.1977.
  • Blechman, Barry M.. The Use of Military Force Abroad by the United States since 1798: An Annotated Bibliography of Unclassified Lists of Incidents Prepared by the U.S. Government. Journal of Conflict Resolution.19, (4), 708-712.1975.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Kaplan, Stephen; Blechman, Barry (1984): Political Use of the United States Armed Forces, 1946-1976. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.