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Lecture

Class 3. Dicourses.docx


Department
Social Sciences
Course Code
SCS 1160
Professor
Jordan Stancil

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January 16th, 2012
Discourses:
- A commentary on the Roman Republic
- Looking at history to get information about how we can do something, to
create a political regime that is stable and will last a long time, all while being
powerful and do glorious things
- In order to imitate the Roman Republic we must know what makes it great.
By looking closely we can understand how to make good political regimes
now
- He is going to draw conclusions from this history that are directly opposed to
historical interpretation: mainly that you cannot trust democracy.
Machiavelli says it was the fact that the people had power that lead to the
overall power of Rome
- Why should the non-expert (the person who chooses not vote) have a say in
running the state, shouldn’t this be left to the successful and intelligent
people? Machiavelli says we must if you want a powerful state that is long
lasting.
- Preface: meditation on what we should think about the past. We tend to
glorify the past and sometimes the past is better. Even if you cant recreate
the past you still need to study them and have a record of them
- He would like to have what Rome had, but can’t but still believes we need to
remember it.
- Wants to create a popular regime by giving power to the people, which is
unrealistic in his time period
- The type of regime you have moves through a pattern, and they will change
according to the rules of the cycle
- There are 6 types of government in this theory: 3 good, 3 not good:
o Each good kind is paired with an ‘evil twin’ (one of the not good)
o Based on differences in the number of rulers or the differences in the
classes.
o Good:
Monarchy: ruled by 1
Aristocracy: ruled by the few
Democracy: ruled by the many
o Each of these can be perverted when something in its nature goes too
far and it becomes the evil version of itself
o Not Good:
Tyranny: the rule of the one
Oligarchy: rule by the wealthy
Anarchy: the rule of the people (total chaos)
- Always moving through a cycle of all six of these. Eventually no matter what
they will become perverted
o Monarchy > Tyranny > Aristocracy > Oligarchy > Democracy >
Anarchy > Monarchy
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