In this work I test the proposition that normative standards of behavior can influence state actions in security related conflicts. Specifically, I examine the construction of norms in the settlements of security related disputes and the effects these settlements have on subsequent militarized interactions. I argue that dispute settlements alter subsequent crisis bargaining in two important ways. First, they act as normative referents which alter the interpretation of subsequent crisis bargaining behavior both by demonstrating that a solution to the dispute exists which both sides consider illegitimate. Second, in combination with the response to their violation, dispute settlements inflict reputational costs on states which violate them. I test these arguments against a realist theory of coercion through an analysis of 122 reinitiated international crises between 1929 and 1979. I find strong support for the hypothesis that states can and do construct normative standards which guide their behavior in international crises. Realist coercion theory, on the other hand, receives only mixed support.