The Machiavellian Moment

JGA Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975).


“At this point is it appropriate to bring in the name of Locke. In the Two Treatises of Government,¬†published if not written nine or so years before this debate, he had argued that societies formed by the simple occupation and cultivation of vacant land would be unlikely to become more than patriarchal family groups, in which little or no institutional government was required was required to administer the natural law. It was the invention of money that changes this state of affairs. … It might further follow that Locke intended to dismiss to a nomadic and patriarcal past that participant civic virtue which Aristotle, Machiavelli, Harington, and Fletcher had grounded on a conception of property increasingly seen as agrarian, and to contend that the individual under government inhabited an exchange-based society in which virtue was private, consisting in relationships which were guaranteed by government but not in participation in government as a self-creating act of citizenship.”