Ancient and Medieval Political Theory

Ancient and Medieval Political Theory
Political Science 450
Final Exam Study Sheet
Short Answer Section. The following list of terms and concepts it to assist you in
preparing for the short answer section of the exam. There will be 12 short answer
questions, of which you are to answer 10 (4 points each).
Problem of the multitude
Rule of one or many
On obedience
Christians and secular power
Essence of law
4 kinds of law
known in two ways
justified theft
on usury
just war
relationship to unbelievers
cycle of corruption
case of Rome
problem with hereditary power
Sparta or Venice
role of religion
wisdom of the masses?
loved or feared?
Louis’s mistakes
force of law vs. force
Essay Question. Two of the following three topics will be on the exam. You are to write
an essay on one of the two (60 points).
1. Aquinas argues that a single prince or ruler is better than rule by a few
(aristocracy) or many (democracy). His ultimate basis for this argument is his
understanding of the relationship between natural and human law. In particular,
discuss the problem of the multitude as it relates to Aquinas’s thought.
2. Compare and contrast what Aquinas and Machiavelli have to say about war.
Among the issues you should discuss, be sure to lay out what each believes the
purpose of war is, what justifies war, what can justifiably be done during war, and
who should or should not be fighting in the war. How might the arguments of
both Aquinas and Machiavelli be brought in to contemporary arguments
concerning war? Elaborate.
3. An important contrast for Machiavelli is that between Fortuna and Virtue (or
fortune and ingenuity). In many ways this distinction sets Machiavelli apart from
his ancient and medieval predecessors with respect to his understanding of
politics and the significance of history. By drawing from the arguments in the
Discourses and the Prince, elaborate upon these claims.