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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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Contemporary Plebeian Thought

Contemporary Plebeian Thought

(p.219) 8 Contemporary Plebeian Thought
Systemic Corruption

Camila Vergara

Princeton University Press

This chapter highlights plebeianism as a political philosophy in the works of Martin Breaugh and Jeffrey Green and provides an in-depth analysis of recent attempts at retrieving the mixed constitution and proposing institutional innovations by John McCormick and Lawrence Hamilton. It looks at McCormick's proposals to revive the office of the Tribunate of the Plebs and bring back plebeian power to exert extraordinary punishment against agents of corruption. It also argues that McCormick's radical republican interpretation of Niccolò Machiavelli places class struggle, the threat of plutocracy, and the need for popular institutions to control the rich at the center of material constitutionalism. The chapter explores the illiberal nature of McCormick's proposals and the legitimacy problems arising from lottery as mode of selection. It explores Hamilton's proposal to combine consulting participatory institutions with an updated tribune of the plebs and a plebeian electoral procedure.

Keywords:   plebeianism, political philosophy, mixed constitution, institutional innovations, plutocracy, plebeian power, class struggle, Martin Breaug, Jeffrey Green

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