“Moderate Machiavellianism”: Aron, Machiavelli, and the Modern Machiavellians

  • Diogo Pires Aurélio
Part of the Recovering Political Philosophy book series (REPOPH)


Raymond Aron did not write very much on Machiavelli. Moreover, he did not especially appreciate what he had written on that subject, as he confessed, 40 years later: “when the war came, I was working on…a study on Machiavelli, from which only about thirty pages survived. They are not worth much. The knowledge I had of Machiavelli was insufficient.”1 However, beyond a first text strictly focused on Machiavelli’s thought, the study that Aron mentions included three other essays, adding up to more than one hundred pages, focusing, on the whole, on what the author calls “modern Machiavellianism.” It would have been part of a book, as Aron says, that he intended to finish. Unfortunately, in 1940, when Germany occupied France and he went into exile in London, he gave up that project and published those pages, which eventually came to light only posthumously.2


Liberal Democracy Totalitarian Regime Abstract Logic Political Ethic Roman Republic 
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  1. 1.
    Raymond Aron, Mémoires. 50 ans de réflexion politique, Paris, Robert Laffont, 2003 [1983], 152.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Raymond Aron, Machiavel et les tyrannies modernes, ed. Rémy Freymond, Paris, Editions de Fallois, 1993.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Raymond Aron, Introduction à la philosophie politique: démocratie et révolution, Paris, Éditions de Fallois, 1997, 131.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    See Serge Audier, Raymond Aron: la démocratie conflictuelle, Paris, Michalon, 2004, 44Google Scholar
  5. Serge Audier, Machiavel, conflit et liberté, Paris, Vrin, 2005, 66.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Machiavelli, The Prince, 18, London, Penguin, 1981, 99.Google Scholar
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    “Le machiavélisme, doctrine des tyrannies modernes,” in Raymond Aron, Chroniques de Guerre: La France libre 1940–1945, Paris, Gallimard, 1990, 418.Google Scholar
  8. 26.
    “Machiavel et Marx,” in Raymond Aron, Études Politiques, Paris, Gallimard, 1972, 67.Google Scholar
  9. 29.
    Raymond Aron, La Sociologie allemande contemporaine, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1981–1989.Google Scholar
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  11. 34.
    See Jacques Maritain, “The End of Machiavellianism,” Review of Politics, January 1942Google Scholar
  12. Raymond Aron, “La querelle du machiavélisme,” in Raymond Aron, Machiavel et les tyrannies modernes, Paris, Éditions de Fallois, 1993, 367–378Google Scholar
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  14. 36.
    Max Weber, Le savant et le politique, trad, française, Préface de R. Aron, Paris, Plon, 1963.Google Scholar
  15. 37.
    See Herman Heller, Europa und der Faschismus, Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 1929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 38.
    See James Burnham, The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom. A Defence of Political Truth against Wishful Thinking, Washington, DC, Gateway Editions, 1943, a work for whose edition in France Aron was responsible.Google Scholar
  17. 41.
    Raymond Aron, Démocratie et totalitarisme, Paris, Gallimard, 1965, 53.Google Scholar
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    Claude Lefort, Écrire. À l’épreuve du politique, Paris, Calman-Lévy, 1992, 374–382.Google Scholar

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© José Colen and Elisabeth Dutartre-Michaut 2015

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  • Diogo Pires Aurélio

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