Machiavelli, Marx and Nietzsche

  • E. A. Rees


Having examined Machiavelli’s political thought and its impact in revolutionary circles during and after the French Revolution, and its impact in German intellectual circles, we now turn to a broader consideration of the development of Machiavelli’s ideas in the nineteenth century. We look at Machiavelli’s influence on Marx, Nietzsche and on those thinkers labelled as ‘elitists’. The appropriation of basic ideas from Machiavelli by the revolutionary left and the counter-revolutionary right marks the distinctive aspect of Machiavellian thought in the nineteenth century. For these two warring camps Machiavelli’s relevance derived precisely from his conception of politics as akin to warfare. Consequently, ‘liberal’ intellectuals, like T. B. Macaulay, in the mid-nineteenth century regarded Machiavelli as a curiosity, a strange product of an earlier more brutal age, whose relevance for contemporary politics, marked by the rise of parliamentarism and the extension of the franchise, was all but past.


Nineteenth Century French Revolution Class Struggle Strange Product Revolutionary Movement 
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© E. A. Rees 2004

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  • E. A. Rees

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