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Dante and Governance$
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John Woodhouse

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198159117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198159117.001.0001

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Dante and Popular Sovereignty

Dante and Popular Sovereignty

(p.27) 3 Dante and Popular Sovereignty
Dante and Governance

Peter Armour

Oxford University Press

Dante's conception of popular sovereignty was undoubtedly what could be called elitist or meritocratic, but it did contain an essential and obvious practical truth, namely, that in order to survive and achieve its ultimate goals all earthly power, at whatever level, must be exercised for the good of the people and with the consent of the people; and his remedy for the contemporary disintegration of society into tyrannies, self-serving oligarchies, and mob democracies was the hoped-for advent of an elected Roman prince, bringer of peace and justice, embodying the sovereignty of the people of the whole world under God. At the ‘political’ level, the prince would guarantee the restoration of true civil government by new ‘Romans’, intelligent citizens acting out of zeal for the liberty of the people.

Keywords:   lex regia, popular sovereignty, Manfred, Monarchia, People Power

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