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Machiavelli's Realism

Grant B. Mindle
The Review of Politics
Vol. 47, No. 2 (Apr., 1985), pp. 212-230
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1406671
Page Count: 19
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Machiavelli's Realism
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Abstract

Declaring his departure from the modes and orders of his predecessors - especially the creators of imaginary republics and principalities (men like Plato, Aristotle and Augustine) - Machiavelli undertakes to show "whoever understands" a new and more promising road to political salvation and personal well-being. So compelling is Machiavelli's rhetoric that we seem to have forgotten just how "realistic" or "moderate" Machiavelli's predecessors were, and how "unrealistic" or "immoderate" Machiavelli's own teaching is. This essay attempts to bring to light the extremism which underlies Machiavelli's realism and raises doubts about his ability to provide his readers the security he promises.

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