AbstractThe return of the French to the Kingdom of Naples (in February 1806) marked the beginning of a new political season, in which Melchiorre Delfico (1744-1835) imagined the possibility of a recovery of that “power of reason and moderation” to which he believed politics had to be brought back after the fin-de-siècle crisis: in his opinion, that was the best possible way towards development, against the excesses both by rebels and reactionaries. He feared that the latter, driven by an overwhelming desire for revenge, could prevent administrative, economic and budgetary reforms from being implemented: in fact, even though put into practice over the last decade, such reforms, which were causing the dissolution of the Neapolitan Ancien Régime, were the result of a long-term process. From a cultural perspective, illiberal tension over the annihilation of revolutionary results conveyed a manipulated re-proposal of political prejudices – some of which dated back to famous writers such as, not least, Niccolò Machiavelli. Such a context was, in Delfico’s opinion, a chance (or maybe only an excuse) for a re-reading of the “great philosopher of politics” whose works had influenced his early thought in some way. Thus, since the need of facing the writer from Florence about certain subjects – such as religion, liberty, the constitutional issue, equality – arose in Melchiorre Delfico, not only roughly marked differences or incisive opinions but also similarities and positive evaluations came sometimes to light. His rejection of an idea of politics completely parted from ethics was among the causes of Delfico’s disagreement with Machiavelli, as well as his interpretation of Machiavellian theories in light of certain historical, political and cultural needs and experiences gained between the end of 1700s and the beginning of 1800s. However, he considered many Machiavellian theories – such as the identification of the origin of class conflicts with legal and economic inequalities, or the blame for the so-called «gentlemen’s» antisocial role – still substantial and living matters. Above all, Delfico paid tribute to Machiavelli for having connected the “military question” to the political one as well as for having considered strictly linked the solutions of such issues. That correlation assumed and implied a new relationship between rulers and the ruled based on a mutual commitment: ensuring its own “affection” towards the State in order to guarantee greater stability on the part of people; fulfilling the citizens’ expectations by improving their economic and social conditions on the part of governments. A constitutional monarchy, seen by Melchiorre Delfico as the ideal solution between revolution and conservativism, was also the most suitable background for the development of such a commitment.