Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Benedetto Fontana

Subject Categories

Political Theory


Power, authority, liberty, Marx, Hobbes, Machiavelli


The concepts of power and authority have been fundamental to political philosophy and science from the beginning. However, in much recent thinking, power’s central and defining relationship with the state has been called into question. This thesis studies the understanding of power and authority in the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, and Karl Marx, in the context of the emerging trend around the world today of searching for a new social, economic, and political order. It aims to demonstrate how the works of Marx may open a path to rectify the limitations of the traditional thinking of power and order, particularly that which stems from Machiavelli and Hobbes. This thesis considers Marx’s response to Machiavelli and Hobbes in light of a realist approach to politics, their different versions of materialism, recognition of the role of the multitude or masses, and the question of the autonomy of the political.