An early use of the term “peace system” occurred in Kirby Page’s book National Defense (1931). In a 1943 pamphlet and a 1966 book, political theorist David Mitrany stated that the prevention of wars required the creation of a peace system which he outlined. In 1978's Toward a Dependable Place, Johansen coined the term "global peace system", arguing that, contrary to the advocated and perceived military security in the international system, the peace system provides greater justice, economic well-being and ecological security. In a global peace system, according to Johansen, "conflict is resolved through nonviolent, political, social, and judicial processes. There are no expectations of war and no national military arsenals." Johansen called for the creation of such a system by a people’s movement.
In 1988, Robert A. Irwin stated that a peace system involves multiple war prevention layers: first, global reforms which reduce the causes of war involve non-threatening defense-policies as well as political, economic, ecological and cultural change; second, conflict resolution mechanisms on the local, regional, national and global level.
In 1991, Louise Diamond and John W. McDonald authored Multi-track Diplomacy: a Systems Approach to Peace, wherein they identified nine specific tracks to produce a synergy in peacebuilding: public opinion and communication, government, professional conflict resolution, business, private citizens, activism, religion, funding, and research, training and education. In 1992, the pair founded the United States-based non-profit organization Institute for Multi-track Diplomacy with the mission of putting into practice their systems-based approach to peacebuilding.
In 2003's Instead of War: the Urgency and Promise of the Global Peace System, Timothy McElwee emphasizes three major focal areas in the construction of a global peace system: (1) strengthening international norms and institutions against war; (2) eliminating the conditions that give rise to war and violence; (3) supporting and encouraging alternative means of international conflict transformation. Other sector-based approaches to peacebuilding link international development, humanitarian assistance, gender, the private sector, religion, environmental change, security, media, health and the rule of law.
In 2011, Kent Shifferd proposed that there is a good chance to outlaw war within the next 100 years. Examining the history of peace, Shifferd posits that there has been more peace than war in history and numerous peace movements were active even during war times. Referring to the global peace system, Shifferd states that most of what needs to be invented to end war has been invented. Rob Ricigliano in 2012 stated that "while...difficult to ascribe specific causation to any one group, the positive trends … indicate that the international community, practitioners, and academics have learned important lessons about ending wars and building peace.”