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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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The Cambridge School’s “Guicciardinian Moments” Revisited

The Cambridge School’s “Guicciardinian Moments” Revisited

(p.176) 6 The Cambridge School’s “Guicciardinian Moments” Revisited
Reading Machiavelli

John P. McCormick

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the most influential contemporary approach to the study of classical and early-modern republicanism and Niccolò Machiavelli's supposed place within that tradition—the Cambridge School of intellectual history, most prominently represented by J.G.A. Pocock and Quentin Skinner. It argues that these world-renowned intellectual historians obscure important aspects of both republican and Machiavellian political thought; specifically, they largely ignore the fact that ancient and modern republicanisms secure the privileged position of elites more than they facilitate political participation by citizens. They also underplay the fact that Machiavelli's political prescriptions more substantively empower common people and more actively facilitate popular contestation of elites than did most authors and regimes that typify republicanism.

Keywords:   Niccolò Machiavelli, Cambridge School, J.G.A. Pocock, Quentin Skinner, republicanism, citizens, common people, elites

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