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This book offers a significant reinterpretation of the history of republican political thought and of Niccolò Machiavelli's place within it. It locates Machiavelli's political thought within enduring debates about the proper size of republics. From the sixteenth century onward, as states grew larger, it was believed only monarchies could govern large territories effectively. Republicanism was a form of government relegated to urban city-states, anachronisms in the new age of the territorial state. For centuries, history and theory were in agreement: constructing an extended republic was as futile as trying to square the circle; but then James Madison devised a compound representative republic that enabled popular government to take on renewed life in the modern era. This work argues that Machiavelli had his own Madisonian impulse and deserves to be recognized as the first modern political theorist to envision the possibility of a republic with a large population extending over a broad territory.Read more
- Offers a significant reinterpretation of the history of republican political thought and of Niccolò Machiavelli's place within it
- Brings renewed attention to a critical period in the history of republican thought and illuminates its adaptation to the most consequential changes in the landscape of the modern state
- Utilizes a wide variety of scholarship in history, political science, and political thought on both early modern Europe and the Founding of America
Reviews & endorsements
"This book makes a significant and fundamental contribution to the vast Machiavelli literature. It makes a very strong case against the idea that Machiavelli’s Prince stands opposed to his Discourses on Livy. While not the first time such an argument has been advanced, it makes it in a far more nuanced and sophisticated manner than the fundamental intellectual unity of Machiavelli’s political theory has been defended previously. This is a beautifully written, organized, and constructed book. I have rarely read a book on Machiavelli that I enjoyed more or learned more from."
Peter Bondanella, Indiana University BloomingtonSee more reviews
"The main argument of Alissa Ardito’s provocative new book pivots on drawing striking comparisons between Machiavelli’s thinking and the concern that motivated the American founders - and especially James Madison - a quarter-millennium later. Plunging boldly into the rich complexity of Machiavellian scholarship, Ardito identifies a striking motif that scholarship has neglected: the way in which Machiavelli’s thinking marks an important contribution to the history of the formation of aggressive nation-states in the early modern era. Ardito makes a sophisticated contribution to the never-ending challenge of interpreting Machiavelli’s seminal ideas."
Jack Rakove, Stanford University
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- Date Published: February 2015
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107061033
- length: 340 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
- weight: 0.67kg
- contains: 2 maps
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The Prince
2. The spaces of fortune
3. Necessity: the survival of the republic
4. Early modern and eighteenth-century transitions – from principality to republic and from colonies to extended republic
5. Envisioning an extended republic
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