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Reading Machiavelli$
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John P. McCormick

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183503

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183503.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 February 2020

On the Myth of a Conservative Turn in the Florentine Histories

On the Myth of a Conservative Turn in the Florentine Histories

(p.69) 3 On the Myth of a Conservative Turn in the Florentine Histories
Reading Machiavelli

John P. McCormick

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that the people must assert their necessary, salutary role as the guardian of liberty against predatory oligarchs and tyrants. It suggests that once readers appreciate that one of the most frequently quoted passages in the entire Florentine Histories occurs just a mere few paragraphs after Machiavelli has demonstrated this to be a deeply inaccurate assessment of events, they are encouraged to begin rethinking the entire relationship of words and deeds in that book—a reconsideration which reveals that Machiavelli, perhaps more often than not, seems to undermine his own expressly declared evaluative judgments throughout the entire Histories. The chapter also shows how pleasurable, perplexing, and beguiling the careful reading of Machiavelli's political writings can be.

Keywords:   liberty, oligarchs, tyrants, Florentine Histories, Niccolò Machiavelli, evaluative judgments

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