Niccolò Machiavelli: Father of Modern Constitutionalism

11 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2015

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 19, 2015


Niccolò Machiavelli is the father of modern constitutionalism. Constitutionalism began anew in the modern world with the study of the ancient republics and it was Machiavelli who inaugurated this revived science of law and politics. Five hundred years after the composition of Il Principe and the Discorsi we are still working out the implications of applying reason to the structures of law and government in pursuit of justice and the common good. Modern constitutionalism and ancient republicanism share three central beliefs: first, that government should serve justice and the common good. Second, that government should do so through known and stable laws. Third, that these will best be secured through the checks and balances of a well-designed constitution. Machiavelli took the theories and experiences of republican Rome and applied them to his own era. This application of reason to constitutional design transformed the politics of emergent modernity and reconfigured government throughout the world.

Keywords: Machiavelli, Constitution,

JEL Classification: K4,K10,K33

Suggested Citation

Sellers, Mortimer Newlin Stead, Niccolò Machiavelli: Father of Modern Constitutionalism (October 19, 2015). University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-32, Available at SSRN: or

Mortimer Newlin Stead Sellers (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics