Instead of the more traditional target audience of a hereditary prince, it concentrates on the possibility of a "new prince". To retain power, the hereditary prince must carefully balance the interests of a variety of institutions to which the people are accustomed. By contrast, a new prince has the more difficult task in ruling: He must first stabilise his newfound power in order to build an enduring political structure. Machiavelli suggests that the social benefits of stability and security can be achieved in the face of moral corruption.
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Instead of the more traditional target audience of a hereditary prince, it concentrates on the possibility of a "new prince".
To retain power, the hereditary prince must carefully balance the interests of a variety of institutions to which the people are accustomed. By contrast, a new prince has the more difficult task in ruling: He must first stabilise his newfound power in order to build an enduring political structure. Machiavelli suggests that the social benefits of stability and security can be achieved in the face of moral corruption.
Machiavelli believed that public and private morality had to be understood as two different things in order to rule well. As a result, a ruler must be concerned not only with reputation, but also must be positively willing to act unscrupulously at the right times.
Machiavelli believed as a ruler, it was better to be widely feared than to be greatly loved; A loved ruler retains authority by obligation while a feared leader rules by fear of punishment. Force may be used to eliminate political rivals, to destroy resistant populations, and to purge the community of other men strong enough of a character to rule, who will inevitably attempt to replace the ruler.
Humanists also viewed the book negatively, including Erasmus of Rotterdam. As a treatise, its primary intellectual contribution to the history of political thought is the fundamental break between political realism and political idealism , due to it being a manual on acquiring and keeping political power.
In contrast with Plato and Aristotle , Machiavelli insisted that an imaginary ideal society is not a model by which a prince should orient himself. In the 18th century, the work was even called a satire , for example by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Discourses on Livy Main article: Discourses on Livy The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, written around , published in , often referred to simply as the Discourses or Discorsi, is nominally a discussion regarding the classical history of early Ancient Rome , although it strays very far from this subject matter and also uses contemporary political examples to illustrate points.
Machiavelli presents it as a series of lessons on how a republic should be started and structured. It is a much larger work than The Prince, and while it more openly explains the advantages of republics, it also contains many similar themes from his other works.
Major discussion has tended to be about two issues: first, how unified and philosophical his work is, and second, concerning how innovative or traditional it is. Some commentators have described him as inconsistent, and perhaps as not even putting a high priority in consistency. Some have argued that his conclusions are best understood as a product of his times, experiences and education. Others have argued that Machiavelli is only a particularly interesting example of trends which were happening around him.
In any case Machiavelli presented himself at various times as someone reminding Italians of the old virtues of the Romans and Greeks, and other times as someone promoting a completely new approach to politics. Their relative importance is however a subject of on-going discussion. It is possible to summarize some of the main influences emphasized by different commentators.
The Mirror of Princes genre Gilbert summarized the similarities between The Prince and the genre it obviously imitates, the so-called " Mirror of Princes " style. This was a classically influenced genre, with models at least as far back as Xenophon and Isocrates. While Gilbert emphasized the similarities, however, he agreed with all other commentators that Machiavelli was particularly novel in the way he used this genre, even when compared to his contemporaries such as Baldassare Castiglione and Erasmus.
One of the major innovations Gilbert noted was that Machiavelli focused upon the "deliberate purpose of dealing with a new ruler who will need to establish himself in defiance of custom".
Normally, these types of works were addressed only to hereditary princes. Xenophon is also an exception in this regard. Classical republicanism Commentators such as Quentin Skinner and J. Classical political philosophy: Xenophon, Plato and Aristotle Xenophon , author of the Cyropedia The Socratic school of classical political philosophy, especially Aristotle , had become a major influence upon European political thinking in the late Middle Ages.
It existed both in the Catholicised form presented by Thomas Aquinas , and in the more controversial " Averroist " form of authors like Marsilius of Padua.
Machiavelli was critical of Catholic political thinking and may have been influenced by Averroism. But he rarely cites Plato and Aristotle, and most likely did not approve of them. Leo Strauss argued that the strong influence of Xenophon , a student of Socrates more known as an historian, rhetorician and soldier, was a major source of Socratic ideas for Machiavelli, sometimes not in line with Aristotle.
With their teleological understanding of things, Socratics argued that desirable things tend to happen by nature, as if nature desired them, but Machiavelli claimed that such things happen by blind chance or human action. Classical materialism Strauss argued that Machiavelli may have seen himself as influenced by some ideas from classical materialists such as Democritus , Epicurus and Lucretius. Strauss however sees this also as a sign of major innovation in Machiavelli, because classical materialists did not share the Socratic regard for political life, while Machiavelli clearly did.
Thucydides Some scholars note the similarity between Machiavelli and the Greek historian Thucydides , since both emphasized power politics. Yet Thucydides never calls in question the intrinsic superiority of nobility to baseness, a superiority that shines forth particularly when the noble is destroyed by the base. In Machiavelli we find comedies, parodies, and satires but nothing reminding of tragedy. One half of humanity remains outside of his thought.
There is no tragedy in Machiavelli because he has no sense of the sacredness of "the common. Empiricism and realism versus idealism Machiavelli is sometimes seen as the prototype of a modern empirical scientist, building generalizations from experience and historical facts, and emphasizing the uselessness of theorizing with the imagination. He undertook to describe simply what rulers actually did and thus anticipated what was later called the scientific spirit in which questions of good and bad are ignored, and the observer attempts to discover only what really happens.
Nevertheless, he advocated intensive study of the past, particularly regarding the founding of a city, which he felt was a key to understanding its later development.
Machiavelli denies the classical opinion that living virtuously always leads to happiness. For example, Machiavelli viewed misery as "one of the vices that enables a prince to rule. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved. A related and more controversial proposal often made is that he described how to do things in politics in a way which seemed neutral concerning who used the advice—tyrants or good rulers.
The Prince made the word Machiavellian a byword for deceit, despotism, and political manipulation. Leo Strauss declared himself inclined toward the traditional view that Machiavelli was self-consciously a "teacher of evil," since he counsels the princes to avoid the values of justice, mercy, temperance, wisdom, and love of their people in preference to the use of cruelty, violence, fear, and deception.
While Christianity sees modesty as a virtue and pride as sinful, Machiavelli took a more classical position, seeing ambition, spiritedness, and the pursuit of glory as good and natural things, and part of the virtue and prudence that good princes should have.
Mansfield describes his usage of virtu as a "compromise with evil". But humanists did not go so far as to promote the extra glory of deliberately aiming to establish a new state, in defiance of traditions and laws. Strauss argues that the way Machiavelli combines classical ideas is new. While Xenophon and Plato also described realistic politics and were closer to Machiavelli than Aristotle was, they, like Aristotle, also saw philosophy as something higher than politics.
Machiavelli was apparently a materialist who objected to explanations involving formal and final causation , or teleology. His advice to princes was therefore certainly not limited to discussing how to maintain a state.
As Harvey Mansfield , p. Strauss concludes his book Thoughts on Machiavelli by proposing that this promotion of progress leads directly to the modern arms race. Religion Machiavelli shows repeatedly that he saw religion as man-made, and that the value of religion lies in its contribution to social order and the rules of morality must be dispensed with if security requires it. For Machiavelli, a truly great prince can never be conventionally religious himself, but he should make his people religious if he can.
According to Strauss , pp. This therefore represents a point of disagreement between himself and late modernity. Firstly, particularly in the Discourses on Livy, Machiavelli is unusual in the positive side he sometimes seems to describe in factionalism in republics. For example, quite early in the Discourses, in Book I, chapter 4 , a chapter title announces that the disunion of the plebs and senate in Rome "kept Rome free". Similarly, the modern economic argument for capitalism , and most modern forms of economics, was often stated in the form of " public virtue from private vices.
Machiavelli argued against seeing mere peace and economic growth as worthy aims on their own, if they would lead to what Mansfield calls the "taming of the prince. Although he privately circulated The Prince among friends, the only theoretical work to be printed in his lifetime was The Art of War , which was about military science. Since the 16th century, generations of politicians remain attracted and repelled by its neutral acceptance, and also positive encouragement, of the immorality of powerful men, described especially in The Prince but also in his other works.
His works are sometimes even said to have contributed to the modern negative connotations of the words politics and politician,  and it is sometimes thought that it is because of him that Old Nick became an English term for the Devil. For example, J. Whatever his intentions, which are still debated today, he has become associated with any proposal where " the end justifies the means ".
For example, Leo Strauss , p. Three principal writers took the field against Machiavelli between the publication of his works and their condemnation in and again by the Tridentine Index in These were the English cardinal Reginald Pole and the Portuguese bishop Jeronymo Osorio , both of whom lived for many years in Italy, and the Italian humanist and later bishop, Ambrogio Caterino Politi.
During the first generations after Machiavelli, his main influence was in non-republican governments. As Bireley reports, in the 16th century, Catholic writers "associated Machiavelli with the Protestants, whereas Protestant authors saw him as Italian and Catholic". In fact, he was apparently influencing both Catholic and Protestant kings.
This became the theme of much future political discourse in Europe during the 17th century. They accepted the need for a prince to be concerned with reputation, and even a need for cunning and deceit, but compared to Machiavelli, and like later modernist writers, they emphasized economic progress much more than the riskier ventures of war.
These authors tended to cite Tacitus as their source for realist political advice, rather than Machiavelli, and this pretense came to be known as " Tacitism ". Francis Bacon argued the case for what would become modern science which would be based more upon real experience and experimentation, free from assumptions about metaphysics, and aimed at increasing control of nature. He named Machiavelli as a predecessor. Modern materialist philosophy developed in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, starting in the generations after Machiavelli.
Not only was innovative economics and politics a result, but also modern science , leading some commentators to say that the 18th century Enlightenment involved a "humanitarian" moderating of Machiavellianism. Although he was not always mentioned by name as an inspiration, due to his controversy, he is also thought to have been an influence for other major philosophers, such as Montaigne ,  Descartes ,  Hobbes , Locke  and Montesquieu.
Scholars have argued that Machiavelli was a major indirect and direct influence upon the political thinking of the Founding Fathers of the United States due to his overwhelming favoritism of republicanism and the republican type of government.
According to John McCormick, it is still very much debatable whether or not Machiavelli was "an advisor of tyranny or partisan of liberty.
For Adams, Machiavelli restored empirical reason to politics, while his analysis of factions was commendable. Adams likewise agreed with the Florentine that human nature was immutable and driven by passions.
For Adams, Machiavelli lacked only a clear understanding of the institutions necessary for good government.
[PDF] The Prince Book by Niccolo Machiavelli Free Download (140 pages)
Summary[ edit ] Each part of The Prince has been extensively commented on over centuries. The work has a recognizable structure, for the most part indicated by the author himself. The subject matter: New Princedoms Chapters 1 and 2 [ edit ] The Prince starts by describing the subject matter it will handle. In the first sentence, Machiavelli uses the word " state " Italian stato which could also mean " status " in order to cover, in neutral terms, "all forms of organization of supreme political power, whether republican or princely. More importantly, and less traditionally, he distinguishes new princedoms from hereditary established princedoms. For such a prince, "unless extraordinary vices cause him to be hated, it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him".