Renaissance Political Philosophy

Mikael Hörnqvist

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238804
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Renaissance Political Philosophy

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Since the idea of Rome and a united Christendom was the horizon within which Renaissance political thought developed, the alternatives to papal and imperial tutelage consisted in subverting the Roman-papal paradigm from within (Niccolò Machiavelli's solution) or rejecting Rome altogether (the road taken by French légistes such as Francis Hotman and Jean Bodin). This article focuses on the two most prominent, and arguably also most influential, political thinkers of the Renaissance period, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) and Thomas More (1478–1535). Although it is highly unlikely that either author knew of the existence of the other, let alone was familiar with his work, the fact that Machiavelli's Prince (1513) and Discourses on Livy (1514–1518) and More's Utopia (1516) were written only a few years apart invites comparison. While focusing on Machiavelli and More, we must not forget that there were many other Renaissance writers, humanists, philosophers, and others, who commented on politics and contributed to the overall development of political thought and political philosophy in the period.

Keywords: Renaissance; political philosophy; political thought; Niccolò Machiavelli; Prince; Utopia; Thomas More; Discourses on Livy; politics

Article.  11002 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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