Why are some democracies able to keep political conflict within constitutional boundaries while others are not? This problem is very closely related to the creation and survival of democratic regimes. Theories about the political setting and theories of choices made by citizens and leaders will be used to explore the nature of democratic conflict. The theories will be applied to the politics of several specific contemporary democracies, such as Germany, Italy, Russia, India, and Northern Ireland. A maximum of 10 students will be accepted for upper-level writing, which requires two additional papers.