Machiavelli: Theories on Liberty, Religion, and The Original Constitution

machiavelliMachiavelli: Theories on Liberty, Religion, and The Original Constitution

Erin Bos

Oklahoma Christian University Journal of Historical Studies, Tau Sigma Journal of Historical Studies: Vol.21 (2013)


Machiavellian qualities are often described as conniving or corrupt. Niccolò Machiavelli coined the idea of power-hungry, unremorseful princes in his book, The Prince. However, Machiavelli’s true political theory can be found in his other political theory book, The Discourses on Livy. In his Discourses, Machiavelli did not singularly focus on the preservation of power or the role of the ruler; rather, he explored the idea of Rome being the model republic. Machiavelli used the republic of Rome as a basis for the creation of his perfect republic, in which liberty was a right given to the public, religion worked as a political tool and a moral compass, and returning to the original constitution occurred frequently.

Machiavelli saw the republic as a civil way of life in which power is not absolute within any regime.1 Machiavelli claimed that clashes were good for the republic, in that the clash lead to change: “enmities between the senate and the plebeians kept Rome free, since they gave rise to laws in favor of liberty.” Thus, Machiavelli advocated that the source of Roman liberty was the disturbances between the nobles and plebeians, because the disturbances produced good effects, or liberty.

Click here to read this article from the Tau Sigma Journal of Historical Studies

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