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Machiavelli's Liberal Republican Legacy Hardcover – November 14, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0521851879 ISBN-10: 0521851874

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Editorial Reviews


"This outstanding collection of essays examines the very important question of how Machiavelli's work influenced modern political thought and practice. Its excellent contributors consider a wide variety of issues in their several ways, making a powerful contribution to our understanding of the subject."
Donald Kagan, Yale University

"This important volume is the best and most accessible source for the 'Straussian' perspective on Machiavelli's influence over modern political thought. It suggests how Machiavelli's 'lowering' of classical moral-political standards (by supplanting the good, moderation and justice with necessity, appetite, and domination) was absorbed and transmitted during the English Commonwealth, Scottish Enlightenment and American Founding. Since the volume heralds Machiavelli's decisive break with Aristotelian and Ciceronian republicanism, it will assume a prominent place alongside Machiavelli and Republicanism (Cambridge, 1990), which posited the opposite, 'Cambridge School,' view of Machiavelli as a faithful conduit of civic republicanism into modernity. While the real Machiavelli very likely corresponds with neither of these two diametrically opposed interpretations, Machiavelli's Liberal Republican Legacy is undoubtedly a major statement in this vibrant debate."
John P. McCormick, University of Chicago

"This deeply thought-provoking collection of original essays constitutes a major enrichment of our understanding of the sources and grounding of liberal republicanism. Machiavelli's subtle, complex, and manifold influence on our civic tradition has never before been explored in such range and depth."
Thomas L. Pangle, University of Texas, Austin

"This book is destined to takes its place among a small but distinguished shelf of works dealing with the role of Machiavelli in fashioning the world of Anglo-American republicanism. As such, it will garner readers for years to come. It will be of special interest to those wishing to understand the true, as opposed to the alleged, influence of Machiavelli on the generation of the American founders."
Steven B. Smith, Yale University

"Rahe and his collaborators attempt to supply a reading of the Machiavellian 'legacy' or tradition different from the one pioneered by J.G.A. Pocock some decades ago. They start from a different understanding of Machiavelli , explained subtly and intelligently in a lead-off essay by Markus Fischer, and end up seeing the Machiavellian tradition in richer and more modernist terms than Pocock did. Among other things, they avoid Pocock's untenable distinction between an antique Machiavellian republicanism and a modernist liberalism, a dichotomy which their treatment of Machiavelli's successors renders quite incredible. The volume, moreover, manages to combine the strengths of a single-authored book with those of a collection. The authors of the individual essays are expert in their subject, yet the collection as a whole has much of the unity of theme and manner of treatment one might expect in a single-authored book. Many of the individual essays are gems and the whole works as a book."
Michael Zuckert, University of Notre Dame

"I would strongly recommend this volume to all scholars who are interested in Machiavelli's influence on the evolution of that peculiar species of liberal republicanism that continues to survive and thrive in the United States."
Perspectives on Politics, John Langton, Westminster College

"The authors provide a valuable synopsis of some major, as well as some lesser-known, political thinkers in the Anglo-American tradition. I recommend this book to all those with an interest in the history of Anglo-American political thought, as well as those looking to transcend the standard liberal republican dichotomies in contemporary interpretations of the American founding."
Canadian Journal of History

Book Description

The significance of Machiavelli's political thinking for the development of modern republicanism is a matter of great controversy. In this volume, a distinguished team of political theorists and historians reassess the evidence, examining the character of Machiavelli's own republicanism and arguing that it provided the starting point for reflections on the part of Marchamont Nedham, James Harrington, John Locke, Algernon Sidney, John Trenchard, Thomas Gordon, David Hume, the baron de Montesquieu, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamiltonthat gave rise to liberal republicanism.

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Product Details

More About the Author

After reading Litterae Humaniores at Wadham College, Oxford, on a Rhodes Scholarship from 1971-1974, Paul A. Rahe completed a Ph.D. in ancient history at Yale University under the direction of Donald Kagan in 1977. In subsequent years, he taught at Cornell University, Franklin and Marshall College, and the University of Tulsa, where he spent twenty-four years before accepting a position at Hillsdale College, where he is Professor of History and holds The Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage.

Professor Rahe's entire scholarly career has been focused on studying the origins and evolution of self-government within the West. His range is considerable. His first book, Republics Ancient and Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution (1992), was 1200 pages in length and surveyed the origins and development of self-government in ancient Greece and Rome, its re-emergence in a new form in the Middle Ages, the transformation it underwent at the hands of the political philosophers of early modernity, and the statesmanship of the American Founding Fathers. Within the first thirteen months of publication, the hardback edition sold out. Thereafter, it reappeared as an alternative selection of the History Book Club. In 1994, it was reissued in a three-volume paperback edition by the University of North Carolina Press, and it remains in print.

In the course of his career, Professor Rahe has published dozens of chapters on related subjects in edited books and scholarly articles in journals such as The American Journal of Philology, Historia, The American Journal of Archaeology, The American Historical Review, The Review of Politics, The American Journal of Business and Professional Ethics, The Journal of the Historical Society, The National Interest, The Woodrow Wilson Quarterly, and History of Political Thought. He spent two years in Istanbul, Turkey in the mid-1980s as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs; he has been awarded research fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Earhart Foundation; and he has held research fellowships at the Center for Hellenic Study, the National Humanities Center, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D. C. , Clare College at Cambridge University, All Souls College at Oxford University, and the American Academy in Berlin; and he has given a host of public lectures at universities in the United States and abroad--most recently at the Hebrew University and at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, at the Sorbonne in Paris, at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in England and the Free University in Berlin. In 1997-98, he was named to the Templeton Honor Rolls for Education in a Free Society by The John M. Templeton Foundation, and in 2006 the Society for French Historical Studies awarded him the Koren Prize for the Best Article Published in French History the preceding year.

Professor Rahe co-edited Montesquieu's Science of Politics: Essays on the Spirit of Laws (2001) with David W. Carrithers and Michael A. Mosher, and he edited Machiavelli's Liberal Republican Legacy (2006). His second book, Against Throne and Altar: Machiavelli and Political Theory under the English Republic, which examines the political thought inspired by the abortive republican experiment that took place in England in the period stretching from 1649 to 1660, was published by Cambridge University Press in April, 2008. His third and fourth books, Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty: War, Religion, Commerce, Climate, Terrain, Technology, Uneasiness of Mind, the Spirit of Political Vigilance, and the Foundations of the Modern Republic and Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Tocqueville on the Modern Prospect, were published by Yale University Press in 2009. For his fifth book, The Spartan Way of War, which he hopes to finish in 2011 or 2012, Professor Rahe has received a contract from Yale University Press.

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