The Sense of Injustice and the Origin of Modern Democracy

The Sense of Injustice and the Origin of Modern Democracy

Bruce J. Smith

A careful study of the political thought of Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke, revealing the roots of modern democracy
In this study of early modern political thought, Bruce Smith traces the origin of modern democracy to Machiavelli. Offering careful readings of Machiavelli's most important political writings, Smith shows that Machiavelli's analysis of the human sentiment of injustice provides the theoretical basis for the participation of ordinary people in political life and rule. Also including chapters on Hobbes and Locke, the book shows how these two modern theorists responded to Machiavelli by contesting and modifying his republican politics to lay the groundwork for the emergence of the democracies of the modern era. Smith sheds new light on not only the influence of Machiavelli but also the character of our democracy, our democratic institutions, and even contemporary populism.

Bruce J. Smith is the Arthur E. Braun Professor of Political Science at Allegheny College.

Table of Contents

Niccolò Machiavelli and the Discovery of the People
Thomas Hobbes and the Fear of the Seditious Mind
John Locke and the Right of Resistance
Conclusion: Self-Respect and Ordinary People