Paul Rahe

Hillsdale College, USA

Montesquieu's Anti-Machiavellian Machiavellianism

 

Abstract

Montesquieu does not mention Machiavelli often. But when he does, he does so at a crucial point in his argument – and it can easily be shown that he frequently has the Florentine in mind on occasions when he does not bother to mention him by name. Montesquieu clearly had Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy on his desk when he composed his Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline. In this paper, which focuses on Montesquieu's understanding of international relations and on his understanding of monarchy, I will trace the manner in which Montesquieu adopts arguments advanced by Machiavelli and deploys them against the Florentine's conclusions.