Author Archive

John McCormick

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. 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.

When politicians are described today as ‘Machiavellian’ the implication is that they are no more than cynical graspers at power for its own sake. Most historians of political thought have long argued that Machiavelli’s own views and politics were more complex than this. In his 2011 book, Machiavellian Democracy (previously reviewed for OurKingdom by Guy Aitchison), the political theorist John P. McCormick offers an innovative reading of Machiavelli. According to McCormick, Machiavelli was not only a republican thinker, but by the standards of his day, and our own, a radically democratic one. Moreover, some of Machiavelli’s ideas, such as his advocacy of plebeian, tribunate institutions, arguably remain relevant to today’s discussions of democratic renewal. Robert Jubb and Stuart White interview John here for the ‘Democratic Wealth’ series.