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POLI 365 - Lecture: Machiavelli (Jan. 21)

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 365
Jason Scott Ferrell

Citizenship Naturalization − eventually ranted to nearby 'barbarians' − could be bought at a very high price − given to freed slaves − naturalization of the conquered nations over time is something unique to Rome, and not Greece − part of this is because of the need for resources of conquered nations Machiavelli − sixteenth century − time of political upheaval in Italy − Italy divided into five major cities − rose out of particular form of economic development − rudimentary form of modernization and urbanization − primitive bourgeoisie (merchants and traders) − in rest of Europe, a political alliance formed between monarchs and traders − monarchs needed the wealth of merchants − in medieval feudal system, monarchs used nobility to generate revenue through taxation − with rise of primitive bourgeoisie, monarchs granted them some rights in return for wealth − part of this came from the selling of noble titles − this does not happen in Italy − Italy, the Pope tries to block the efforts of monarchs, such as the Holy Roman Emperor, from forming alliances with the merchant − Pope have always tried to manipulate monarchs and play one off each other in order to maintain semi-autonomy and the city-state system − because monarch is being blocked, the primitive bourgeoisie return to the history of Rome and attempt to argue for a republican form of government − not necessarily democratic; more oligarchical − deliberative, popular government, though based on wealth Personal History − began working in a republican form of government − was overthrown by Medici, who sets up princely form of government − Machiavelli goes into exile; writes both Prince and Discourses on Livy − how does Machiavellian republican thought compare to Plato's criticisms, and what Pericles says? Discourses on Livy − vindication of republican rule in Italy − three important concepts − necessitas − fortuna − virtu − there are times when certain actions are necessary − times derives from the emphasis on political expediency − the achievement of certain political goals requires particular actions or institutions, irrespective of their morality − furthermore, there are actions/events which seem to be arbitrary and unforeseen; such actions threaten to undermine our goals − can potentially undermine a community − Machiavelli does not think these random events are unintelligible − virtue allows us to show courage, skill, civic courage − virtue therefore is similar to virtuosity − not a simple category that characterizes moral qualities − Polybius, Greek historian: famous for cyclic theory of government (anacyclosis) − every regime ultimately degenerates, usually into their opposites − historically verifiable? − how to b
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