Pocock sin bok, The Machiavellian Moment, tar for seg tiden fra Machiavelli selv, renessansetidens Firenze, til det han kaller "Prerevolutionary Atlantic", i hovedsak tiden opp til den engelske revolusjon. Det er en strålende bok, som absolutt kan anbefales, og viser en tradisjon fra Machiavelli. Derimot er det viktig å påpeke at det ikke var den eneste. Jonathan Israel har en artikkel, "The Intellectual Origins of Modern Democratic Republicanism (1660-1720)", hvor han forsøker å skille den tradisjonen Pocock skisserer fra en mer radikal tradisjon som hadde hovedsetet i Nederland på 1600-tallet (hvor Spinoza er en av aktørene). Han bygger bl.a. på Ernst Kossmann sine studier på den republikanske tradisjonen i Nederland. Jeg kan ta noen sitater fra Israel sin artikkel:
«Pocock broadly characterized the latter as the republicanism of an opposition minded gentry – agrarian, anti-commercial, asserting the special status of free property-holders and the duty of the citizenry to participate in government; it was grounded, he held, ‘on the Machiavellian theory of the possession of arms as necessary to political personality’. In this tradition of Harringtonian republicanism, also termed by Pocock ‘English Machiavellianism’, the ties between land, republican freedom and the bearing of arms are perceived as crucial.»
«However, the character of Dutch republicanism also seems distinctly remote from other typical traits of the English republican tradition which Pocock and fellow commentators may perhaps be said to have understated, such as the aristocratic, anti-democratic drift inherent in a republicanism of the gentry and proclivity towards empire, and cultivating a martial spirit among the citizenry, basic to the Cromwellian, and also anti-Cromwellian, ‘Commonwealth’ revolutionary legacy, the latter especially pronounced in the outlook of Algernon Sidney.
Dutch 17th-century republicanism, by contrast, with its different social base and strong emphasis (from Johan de Witt onwards) on the peacefulness of republics as compared with monarchies, developed in a strikingly different direction, even while drawing on some of the same sources as the English variety, and being no less steeped in Machiavelli.»
«To begin with, while English republicanism was that of a landed gentry, and rarely emphatically democratic in tendency, Dutch republicanism was plainly not the ideology of a rural elite, aspiring to dominate a national parliament, but rather of city burghers whose interests were overwhelmingly civic, commercial and nonagrarian. Thus the Dutch 17th-century experience was distinctively ‘modern’ in a sense in which no other European republicanism of the 17th century, including Britain’s, can claim to have been.»
Han påpeker blant annet:
«Indeed, in one of the most militantly democratic texts discussed in this article, the Vrije Politieke Stellingen (Free Political Institutions) of 1665, by the atheistic schoolmaster Franciscus van den Enden (1602–74), we find one of the first general affirmations of the universal rationality and fundamental equality of all men – of whatever race, colour or creed – in modern western thought. At bottom, Dutch democratic republicanism was a republicanism which pivoted on the idea of the ‘common good’ as the pre-eminent principle of society, envisioning merchants and wage-earners as the backbone of the citizenry.»
Israel er også kritisk til hvordan Pococks syn har dominert senere historieskrivning:
«In fact, most of the historiography, in all these languages, simply assumes that the so-called ‘Atlantic’ republicanism of the English gentry is by far the predominant, generally presiding tradition in post-Renaissance Atlantic republicanism as a whole, much as Locke and Early Enlightenment English liberalism are seen, in Europe as in America, as the foundation of the western liberal tradition in general. It all fits admirably with the notion rapidly gaining currency in recent years that the European Enlightenment as a whole drew its primary inspiration and momentum from British ideas and example.»
Jeg skal ikke si noe sikkert om senere utviklingen i statene, da jeg har mindre oversikt her. Pocock vil nok mene at den tradisjonen han skisserer fortsetter i statene. Han har skrevet en del om 1700-tallet også, som er samlet i boken Virtue, Commerce, History.