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Systemic CorruptionConstitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Republic$
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Camila Vergara

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691207537

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691207537.001.0001

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Machiavelli on the Plebeian Power to Create and Punish

Machiavelli on the Plebeian Power to Create and Punish

(p.125) 4 Machiavelli on the Plebeian Power to Create and Punish
Systemic Corruption

Camila Vergara

Princeton University Press

This chapter begins by presenting Niccolò Machiavelli's constitutional thought as the foundation of a type of constitutionalism that is material in its analysis of law and procedures, and anti-oligarchic in its institutional design. It recognizes the influence that socioeconomic inequalities exert over political power, in which Machiavelli embraces conflict as the effective cause of free government and strives to empower and channel emancipatory, plebeian energies through the constitutional order. It also focuses on Machiavelli's most important contribution to materialist constitutionalism: the plebeian nature of constituent power. The chapter contends that the constituent power in Machiavelli serves not as a bridge between basic principles and politics, but rather as the power exerted to resist oppression and establish plebeian and anti-oligarchic institutions. It looks at the democratic theory on the constituent power that has been conceived as the autopoietic power of the community.

Keywords:   Niccolò Machiavelli, constitutional thought, anti-oligarchic constitutionalism, plebeian nature, constituent power, conflict, socioeconomic inequality, political power, plebeian institutions

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