Political Theory 38 (4):452-482 (2010)

The idea that a republic is the only legitimate form of government and that non-elective monarchy and hereditary political privileges are by definition illegitimate is an artifact of late eighteenth century republicanism, though it has roots in the “godly republics” of the seventeenth century. It presupposes understanding a republic to be a non-monarchical form of government. The latter definition is a discursive practice that goes back only to the fifteenth century and is not found in Roman or medieval sources. This article explains how the definition emerged in Renaissance Italy.
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DOI 10.1177/0090591710366369
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