Submission Date


Document Type




Faculty Mentor

Jonathan Marks


Presented during the 25th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 21, 2023 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Machiavelli's book, The Discourses, argues for republican government through analyzing Roman historian Titus Livy's History of Rome. In this essay, I argue that contrary to the influential view of scholars, such as John McCormick, that The Discourses argues in favor of a popular republic, the decemvirate episode shows that Machiavelli favors an aristocratic republic, a view expressed by just a few scholars, including Harvey Mansfield. Like many other readers of Machiavelli, I suppose that Machiavelli’s thought sheds light on contemporary issues, such as populism and class conflict in politics. But understanding Machiavelli as an aristocratic republican changes our understanding of his lessons for contemporary republics and the remedies we should consider.

Available for download on Monday, July 21, 2025

Open Access

Available to all.