m e l i ss a s c h wa rt z b e rg In Machiavellian Democracy, John McCormick elegantly highlights the "ferocious populism" inherent in Machiavelli's writings. McCormick distinguishes his reading from that of the Cambridge School, emphasizing that interpreting Machiavelli within the republican tradition fails to do justice to Machiavelli's anti-elitism. Whereas republicanism both in its historical and contemporary forms is in many respects compatible with aristocratic rule and hostile to popular agency, McCormick's reading of Machiavelli affirms the importance of institutions designed to give the people--the economic lower classes in particular--a means of keeping elites accountable and an active role in political life. The book is divided into three sections. The first is largely interpretive, focusing on arguments for popular participation in the Prince and the Discourses; the second discusses Machiavelli's analysis of the way in which institutions structure the motivational logic of citizens and elites in Rome and Florence in particular; and the third provides a normative critique of the aristocratic impulses of even contemporary republicanism, accompanied by institutional prescriptions for challenging elite domination along Machiavellian lines. Throughout the book, McCormick's reading of Machiavelli is both careful and bracing, a rare combination. For
The Good Society – Penn State University Press
Published: Feb 16, 2011
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