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Machiavelli and Guicciardini on the Medici Regime

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Abstract:

My paper investigates the nature and extent of transformational change in Machiavelli’s political thought.  A number of recent studies have stressed the degree to which Machiavelli’s later writings distanced themselves, or even rejected outright, some of his most famous and controversial arguments from his two most famous early works of political thought, The Prince and the Discourses on Livy.  At stake in the debate is the question of Machiavelli’s radicalism—in this case, manifested in the degree to which the late Machiavelli remained a rare advocate of populism or ultimately assimilated his thinking to reflect the aristocratic norms of Florentine elite culture.  My paper examines this issue from the perspective of Machiavelli’s friendship with Guicciardini and their respective interpretations of the fifteenth-century Medici regime. From 1520-1525, both writers were grappling in sustained ways with the origins and impact of the Medici on Florentine politics, Guicciardini in his Dialogue on the Government of Florence and Machiavelli in the Florentine Histories. During precisely those same years, the two thinkers became close friends and exchanged many letters.  My paper will draw upon their correspondence and formal writings from these years to argue that some of Machiavelli’s apparently startling later views were the result of a mutually influential exchange with Guicciardini about the Medici and Florentine politics.  As John Najemy clearly showed in his analysis of Machiavelli’s correspondence with Francesco Vettori and the composition of The Prince, Machiavelli’s “formal writing” was often driven in notable ways by debates with friends and therefore implicitly addressed to those friends. My paper gauges the extent to which Machiavelli’s friendship with Guicciardini exerted a similarly catalytic effect upon Machiavelli's political thought.
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Association:
Name: American Political Science Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.apsanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1127214_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Jurdjevic, Mark. "Machiavelli and Guicciardini on the Medici Regime" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, TBA, Philadelphia, PA, <Not Available>. 2017-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1127214_index.html>

APA Citation:

Jurdjevic, M. "Machiavelli and Guicciardini on the Medici Regime" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, TBA, Philadelphia, PA <Not Available>. 2017-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1127214_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: My paper investigates the nature and extent of transformational change in Machiavelli’s political thought.  A number of recent studies have stressed the degree to which Machiavelli’s later writings distanced themselves, or even rejected outright, some of his most famous and controversial arguments from his two most famous early works of political thought, The Prince and the Discourses on Livy.  At stake in the debate is the question of Machiavelli’s radicalism—in this case, manifested in the degree to which the late Machiavelli remained a rare advocate of populism or ultimately assimilated his thinking to reflect the aristocratic norms of Florentine elite culture.  My paper examines this issue from the perspective of Machiavelli’s friendship with Guicciardini and their respective interpretations of the fifteenth-century Medici regime. From 1520-1525, both writers were grappling in sustained ways with the origins and impact of the Medici on Florentine politics, Guicciardini in his Dialogue on the Government of Florence and Machiavelli in the Florentine Histories. During precisely those same years, the two thinkers became close friends and exchanged many letters.  My paper will draw upon their correspondence and formal writings from these years to argue that some of Machiavelli’s apparently startling later views were the result of a mutually influential exchange with Guicciardini about the Medici and Florentine politics.  As John Najemy clearly showed in his analysis of Machiavelli’s correspondence with Francesco Vettori and the composition of The Prince, Machiavelli’s “formal writing” was often driven in notable ways by debates with friends and therefore implicitly addressed to those friends. My paper gauges the extent to which Machiavelli’s friendship with Guicciardini exerted a similarly catalytic effect upon Machiavelli's political thought.


Similar Titles:
Armies and Archives in Renaissance Italy: Record-keeping and the Florentine Militia, from Machiavelli to the Medici

The Consulte e pratiche during the Medici Regime: Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florentine Republic (1434–64)

Breaking Bad or: How Machiavelli Learned to Stop Fearing the Medici and Advance Republicanism through Pro-War Discourse


 
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