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POLSCI 3VV3 Lecture Notes - Res Publica, Mixed Government, Oligarchy

Political Science
Course Code
James Ingram

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Political Theory 3VV3
January 31, 13
2 Families of Republicanism (res publica)
1. Developmental
o Represented through Aristotle/Rousseau
o Model: Athens
o Participate in politics, the point of citizenship is to realize your capacities,
way of living the best possible life
2. Protective
o Represented by Machiavelli/Madison
o Model: Rome
o Much less democratic (democratic is an insult dealing with the lower
people), there are real advantages with having people involved politics
Varieties of Politics
o 1. Political/civic freedom
o 2. Individual/civil freedom
Machiavelli reminds us of a third sense
o 3. Independent
Free City
City has everything you need for human life
City is self ruled
Machiavelli is a modern thinker
How is Machiavelli different from others?
Aristotle distinguishes between 6 different types of regimes (Monarchy or
Tyranny; Aristocracy or Oligarchy; Constitutional government or democracy)
Machiavelli distinguishes between 3 different types of regimes (denies there is a
importance difference between a good and bad regime)
o Even the good ones tend to tyrannate
o Politics runs by its own rules
o You cant only focus on the good, focus on how things practically work
o Therefore the distinguishing between the good and bad regime is not
o Difference between optimism and pessimism
o (How things should be and how they will work idealism vs cynicism)
Machiavelli wants to know how to make something to last (Machiavelli says
nothing last forever)
Pg. 89-90 “A popular government...”
o We are not interested in the abstract questions… want to ask pragmatic
questions to figure out how to make something last
o “All kinds of government are defective…”
Something wrong with all regimes
When combined in the same constitution a Prince, a nobility, and
the power of the people
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