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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198780885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198780885.001.0001

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The Theory of the Republic

The Theory of the Republic

(p.114) 4 The Theory of the Republic

Maurizio Viroli

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with the reasons why Machiavelli's work, The Prince, damaged his reputation. It also offers various accounts that supported Machiavelli's reputation as a republican thinker. It argues that Machiavelli's republicanism was a commitment to the ideal of a well-ordered republic that is kept in check by the rule of law. It also offers insights on republicanism before Machiavelli's time and points out that the connection between political or civil life and political liberty needs to be studied. In analyzing Machiavelli's works, the first point that should be addressed is that his republicanism is a commitment to the vivere civile. The chapter elaborates on the nature of corruption and Machiavelli's thoughts on its impact on religion and politics. To him, ‘absolute power’ and exaggerated wealth were two causes of this. It also offers a solution to corruption — the outstanding virtue of a ruler dedicated to restoring the rules.

Keywords:   The Prince, republican thinker, republicanism, corruption, virtue, religion, politics

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