The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition

The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition


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Originally published in 1975, The Machiavellian Moment remains a landmark of historical and political thought. Celebrated historian J.G.A. Pocock looks at the consequences for modern historical and social consciousness arising from the ideal of the classical republic revived by Machiavelli and other thinkers of Renaissance Italy. Pocock shows that Machiavelli's prime emphasis was on the moment in which the republic confronts the problem of its own instability in time, which Pocock calls the "Machiavellian moment."

After examining this problem in the works of Machiavelli, Guicciardini, and Giannotti, Pocock turns to the revival of republican ideology in Puritan England and in Revolutionary and Federalist America. He argues that the American Revolution can be considered the last great act of civic humanism of the Renaissance and he relates the origins of modern historicism to the clash between civic, Christian, and commercial values in eighteenth-century thought.

This Princeton Classics edition of The Machiavellian Moment features a new introduction by Richard Whatmore.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691172231
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 10/04/2016
Series: Princeton Classics , #25
Pages: 664
Sales rank: 753,288
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

J.G.A. Pocock is the Harry C. Black Professor of History Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University. His many books include Political Thought and History; Politics, Language, and Time; and The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law. Richard Whatmore is professor of modern history at the University of St Andrews and director of the St. Andrews Institute of Intellectual History. He is the author of Republicanism and the French Revolution and Against War and Empire.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Princeton Classics edition vii

Introduction xxiii

Part One Particularity and Time:
The Conceptual Background

I The Problem and Its Modes

A) Experience, Usage and Prudence 3

II The Problem and Its Modes

B) Providence, Fortune and Virtue 31

III The Problem and Its Modes

C) The Vita Activa and the Vivere Civile 49

Part Two The Republic and its Fortune: Florentine Political Thought from 1494 to 1530

IV From Bruni to Savonarola
Fortune, Venice and Apocalypse 83

V The Medicean Restoration 114

A) Guicciardini and the Lesser Ottimati, 1512-1516

VI The Medicean Restoration 156

B) Machiavelli's Il Principe

VII Rome and Venice

A) Machiavelli's Discorsi and Arte della Guerra 183

VIII Rome and Venice

B) Guicciardini's Dialogo and the Problem of Optimate Prudence 219

IX Giannotti and Contarini: Venice as Concept and as Myth 272

Part Three Value and History in the Prerevolutionary Atlantic

X The Problem of English Machiavellism: Modes of Civic Consciousness before the Civil War 333

XI The Anglicization of the Republic

A) Mixed Constitution, Saint and Citizen 361

XII The Anglicization of the Republic

B) Court, Country, and Standing Army 401

XIII Neo-Machiavellian Political Economy

The Augustan Debate over Land, Trade and Credit 423

XIV The Eighteenth-Century Debate: Virtue, Passion and Commerce 462

XV The Americanization of Virtue: Corruption, Constitution and Frontier 506

Afterword 553

Bibliography 585

Index 601

What People are Saying About This

Marvin B. Becker

In analyzing the history of consciousness as explicated through philosophers, political theorists, historians, theologians, lawyers, and prophets, [this book] presents a new interpretation of wide-ranging problems. It should be of great value to scholars in many disciplines concerned with the history of ideas.

Philip Pettit

The Machiavellian Moment raised a thousand issues, settled two or three, and gave historians and philosophers a generation's work. It is a must-read and a must-have.
Philip Pettit, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University

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