Machiavellian Democracy

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 31, 2011 - Political Science
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Intensifying economic and political inequality poses a dangerous threat to the liberty of democratic citizens. Mounting evidence suggests that economic power, not popular will, determines public policy, and that elections consistently fail to keep public officials accountable to the people. McCormick confronts this dire situation through a dramatic reinterpretation of Niccolò Machiavelli's political thought. Highlighting previously neglected democratic strains in Machiavelli's major writings, McCormick excavates institutions through which the common people of ancient, medieval and Renaissance republics constrained the power of wealthy citizens and public magistrates, and he imagines how such institutions might be revived today. It reassesses one of the central figures in the Western political canon and decisively intervenes into current debates over institutional design and democratic reform. McCormick proposes a citizen body that excludes socioeconomic and political elites and grants randomly selected common people significant veto, legislative and censure authority within government and over public officials.

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part i
Democratic Republics and the Oppressive Appetite of Young
part ii
Elections Lotteries and ClassSpecific Institutions
Political Trials and the Free Way of Life
Republicanism and Democracy
PostElectoral Republics and the Peoples Tribunate Revived

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About the author (2011)

John P. McCormick is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He was educated at Queens College, CUNY and the University of Chicago. He has been a Fulbright scholar in Bremen, Germany; a Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence; and a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. McCormick is the author of Carl Schmitt's Critique of Liberalism: Against Politics as Technology and Weber, Habermas and Transformations of the European State: Constitutional, Social and Supranational Democracy. He has published numerous articles on contemporary democratic theory, Florentine political and constitutional thought, and twentieth-century German legal, political and social theory in scholarly journals, including the Modern Law Review, the American Political Science Review and Political Theory.

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