Republic - Research Article from Governments of the World

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Radical Republicanism Versus Commercial Society

Machiavelli's focus on the ordinary people as a dynamic force in a republic and his emphasis on popular conflict as a healthy element of political life spawned a variety of reactions among later republican thinkers. Some republican thinkers, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), Thomas Paine (1737–1809), and later Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), sought to make popular sovereignty the center of republican theory. Others, such as James Madison (1751–1836) saw radical republicanism as a danger to political stability and sought instead to redefine republican theory so that it might accommodate the new commercial market society of the later eighteenth century and its notions of private property.

Rousseau is of particular importance to the post-Machiavellian tradition of radical republicanism because he combined democratic popular sovereignty with mixed government in a way that shifted the model republic decidedly in the direction of direct democracy. Famously he argued in...

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This section contains 2,449 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Republic Encyclopedia Article
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Governments of the World
Republic from Governments of the World. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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