POL200 Lecture notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Clifford Orwin

February 14 2013POL200 Lecture 18Last session on MachiavelliWant to tie together some of the themes weve been discussing particularly Machiavellis emphasis on virtu and the relationship between it and fortuneWant to talk alto about the ends or objectives Machiavelli has in mind for his republican regimeMachiavellis relationship to religion and in particular ChristianityWe ended by discussing last time the relationship between the people and its leaders in 158 Machiavelli was trying to educate his readers to respect the power and capacities of the people if their princes guide and govern them wellThe people can be ennobled if they are correctly shackled by lawMachiavelli is suggesting that Livys supposed ancient historical philosophical authority not that he is crazy to make criticisms but that he is one sided and his disrespect is not legitimateLast chapter in Book 1 Machiavelli is showing leaders or princes how they should talk to the people about themselvesIn addition to explaining the function of politics through the prudence of individual captains and frictions with the people Machiavelli also offers a populist ideology that astute readers will see through but it will nonetheless win the support of the people to the regime to unite the people with the senate because of the regimes desire to project its military power outward this is the theme of Book IINot only a new republican thinking in which the people have dignity but also one in which the people will willing unite itself with a nobility in order to advance the citys imperialistic projectsMachiavellis bellicose republicanism and the ends of the regime notice that the Prince and the discourses are the two works in which Machiavelli famously said he put the entirety of his knowledge of politicsBook II is therefore a useful way to end because it gives us an opportunity to revisit the central themes of both Prince and DiscoursesThrough readings today example beginning of 220 Machiavelli indicates that he expects his readers to read both works carefully refers to his discussion of axillary and mercenary troops in the Prince and says he will carry on that discussion in the DiscoursesDiscourses presents Machiavellis conception of the best regime a republic in challenge to AristotlePlatos republicsIf Machiavelli is going to be a philosophical contender then he needs not only to give us some impressionistic account of what this regime looks like but also what its goals or objectives areDoes so clearly in Book II starting with pg 170 22 idea is to consume all other communities in order to strengthen its ownend of regime is to weaken all other bodies so as to increase its own bodyoBellicosity or imperialism is the key Machiavelli provides an elegant and miniature account of his own bellicose republican principles in the middle of 219 p 179oDescribes it that the keys to success are a sort of elite managed political participation attempt to increase the inhabitants of the capital to feed the poor through immigration to acquire fellow citizens not subjectsoRome incorporated communities into the army it didnt simple disassociate itself or rule over them like slavesoPunish soldiers who plunder fight through raids and then the two most important principles keep the state wealthy and the individual poor second most important principleFebruary 14 2013Polarizations of wealth tend to create lords tend to also downplay the importance of the people who become he very poorThese polarities make it impossible for a unified political and military regime to conduct politics to project military powerFinally says that for a bellicose republic to be successful have to keep up a high level of military trainingThe reason for this is if the goal of the other republic is to weaken all other bodies to strengthen your own you can see why the military is so importantThis is Machiavellis own idea of bellicose republicanismThis ideal differs not only from the ideal republic of Aristotle or Plato whose ends were the cultivation of human excellence but also differs radically from what came afterwardThese later thinkers did not discount a manly assertion of freedom or independence but they certainly did downplay pugnacity in favour of civility and toleration this is different that Machiavellis account of the best possible regimeWhat else can we say about the bellicose republic In 219 the achievement of these bellicose ideals is possible only for a sound and healthy and powerful republic most republics that seek conquest destroy themselves they havent been ordered so as to support conquest or that they havent adequately disciplined their soldiers to make them restrained eg CapuaEmphatic that the defensive republic is simply impossible p 180 because it will be subject to attack from outside in which case it will need to become offensive simply to preserve itselfOr subject to corruption or rebellion withinThe defensive republic is impossible generally but there is one example in modern times GermanyoDescribes the city states in some detail to explain why it is such an exceptional case why the defensive republic in modern times as in ancient times can exist and survive only in the most highly exceptional circumstancesoThe defensive republic can exist only if it is very lucky only if it is very fortunate in its circumstancesoWe all know that Machiavelli if he teaches anything he teaches selfreliance not reliance on fortuneIn chapter 20 says he will pick up his same theme about the military discusses one of the Romans chief means of imperialism one of the avenues they chose to succeed as imperialistAlready told us that leaders should never use axillaries troops of another ruleroWhat is new is that he advises republics that the existence of axillaries and diplomacy is one of the easiest avenues to conquestoSend troops to neighbours when they are requested in order to begin projects of expansionoSo dont use axillaries but then send axillaries to othersoAs the best republic the Roman republic acted without any respect or any loyalty to those with whom they had made treatiesAll of this explains Machiavellis conception of the bellicose republic explains that this is the objective in his view of the best republicBut if bellicosity may often be necessary as he argues does that mean that pursuing bellicosity as much as possible is good Does that mean it is good altogether Does that mean that pursuing bellicosity is good for the republicParallel case consider a human body also a mixed body satisfying our bodily desires for food and drink is certainly necessary but does that mean that pursuing those desires to the highest
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