Interpreters of Machiavelli easily agree that his political writings have profoundly influenced our fundamental ideas of state and society, yet these interpreters rarely agree on what Machiavelli really thought. Did Machiavelli seek to recover classical republicanism in the Aristotelian tradition, or did he aspire to usher in modernity? Was he a cynic who assumed human beings to be inescapably wicked and offered technical advice to tyrants, or did he aim at some version of 'the good life'? Did he create a general theory of politics, or did he teach us that political issues should be approached in a particular contextual, dialectical, or rhetorical manner? Through systematic analysis, Markus Fischer's cogent and articulate study succeeds in resolving these questions. Well-Ordered License will appeal both to new students of Machiavelli and to scholars who have long sought to reconcile the seeming incoherence of his work.