The Journal of Democracy seeks essays that offer clear and compelling perspectives on the emergence, survival, and deepening of democratic norms and institutions. Submissions or pitches should thus be targeted to the Journal’s broad, global audience, and should avoid overly specialized terminology or jargon. Essays that feature quantitative analyses are welcome, but they must be rendered in a manner comprehensible to nonspecialists. We recommend prospective authors browse our archives to ensure their submission is distinct and matches the Journal’s scope and style.

Although we publish on developments in a single country, we generally prefer submissions with a relatively broad focus. The Journal is also interested in analyses of political developments and institutions in the United States and other advanced industrialized democracies, but it avoids submissions that seek to advance partisan political positions.

The Journal welcomes unsolicited submissions for both the quarterly print issue and website.   

Essays submitted for the quarterly issue should be no more than 6,500 words, including endnotes; authors should subtract roughly 300 words from this total for every chart or graphic. Endnotes must be numbered, in Chicago style, and strictly limited in quantity. Please also submit an abstract of up to 100 words that includes as many keywords from the essay as possible.

Submissions for our website, or “Online Exclusives,” should be under 2,000 words and should include in-text hyperlinks instead of endnotes. Online Exclusives provide cutting-edge analysis of timely democratic developments or events. These have appeared as both commentary and field dispatches.

All submissions should include a biography of up to 50 words with a current affiliation and recent publications or activities.

Every unsolicited submission is evaluated by at least two members of the editorial staff. Many are rejected at this stage, often for reasons of focus, timing, style, or space that do not necessarily reflect their scholarly merits.

The Journal is not formally peer-reviewed, but in some cases essays are sent to outside scholars or specialists for comments and evaluation.

Because of our small staff, we are regrettably unable to provide individualized critiques of the pieces that we reject. We will make every effort to convey our decision to the author in a timely manner.

The Journal will not consider manuscripts submitted simultaneously to other publications.

How to Submit

All manuscripts must be double-spaced and in Microsoft Word format (.docx). Please use the form below to submit. Direct any questions about submission to