Modeling Florentine Republicanism
The following model of political process is intended to be a moderately realistic representation of Florentine republicanism, during the period of the Renaissance (ca. 1300-1500). The model is composed of two parts: (a) patronage - namely, the building up of partisan networks through the exchange of office-based favors, and (b) policy - namely, the collective deliberation and choice of "public goods" for Florence, in the Priorate (i.e., the city-council governing body). It was the tension and interplay between these two modes of governance, I contend, that produced Renaissance Florence's distinctively turbulent, and creative, history of party formation and constitutional design. This memo proceeds in three sections: the official structure of the Florentine state, the patronage networks that grew up through these offices, and the "sacred" institutions at the center that may or may not have transcended patronage.
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