This paper, which concerns the political economy of late medieval and early modern Nuremberg, is motivated by discontent with the dominant explanation of the city’s outstanding economic position at that time, which stresses the importance of the wisdom and goodwill of the ruling oligarchy. This traditional explanation seems to be supported by the fact that the political situation in Nuremberg was exceptionally stable, the rule of the mercantile council being accepted by the members of other social groups. Lehmann analyses two hypotheses: The first is that the policy pursued by the council was consistently designed in the interest of the ruling merchant oligarchy, the decisive points being the preservation of power and the capturing of rents. Her second hypothesis is that social groups like the craftsmen disadvantaged by this policy did not try to change Nuremberg’s distribution of power because of the experiences thy had made in 1348, when a coup which they had attempted had failed. Assuming that the council would be able to put down any further attempts, too, it would be more profitable for the craftsmen to accept the given political situation.