About "The Prince" By Machiavelli


Niccolo Machiavelli was born in the 16th century in Florence, and in his life met a lot of influential people during his travels to courts of Europe and Italy.

Machiavelli's most famous work, "The Prince" (published after his death), is basically a how-to on autocracy; it provides analysis by using contemporary history and offers suggestions and advice to a fledgling autocrat (prince).

The phrase Machiavelli is most famous ("The end justifies the means.") for - is not actually his own. This phrase is an oversimplification and a mistranslation as well, and does not appear in this form in "The Prince".

So, Machiavelli was not 'machiavellian' in the sense the term is most used today; 'political correctness' and 'politics' do not usually mix well, and may cause a lot of confusion.

Machiavelli explores the concepts of cruelty vs mercy, of being loved vs being hated, wickedness, and the efficiency of these in relation to governing.

Machiavelli also looks at various types of states, of rulers, of armies, of people, and examines the advantages and drawbacks of each in relation to the power of the prince.

What Machiavelli does not discuss in "The Prince" is the goal or purpose a prince would, could, or should have.

Once the strands of power are firmly in the hands of the prince, what will he choose?


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