What is Montesquieu’s connection to Machiavelli? The question long has called out for attention and (relative to the rest of Montesquieu scholarship) long met with silence. There are exceptions, of course, but they are few (e.g., Carrese 2005; Levi-Malvano 1912; Rahe 2011; Shackleton 1964; Sullivan 2006). And none has dwelled on the matter in the way that I propose. In this article, I offer a reading of the connection between these authors that turns on Montesquieu’s defense of what might be called ordinary acquisitiveness, a self-contained cupidity that the philosophe is glad to ﬁnd ﬂourishing in a world being ‘‘cured of Machiavellianism’’ (SL XXI.20). But here is a cure that retains some of the ill, which is to say that Montesquieu is no simple Anti-Machiavel.
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