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The Prince

Niccolo Machiavelli

Il Principe (The Prince) is a political treatise by the Florentine public servant and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. Originally called De Principatibus (About Principalities), it was written in 1513, but not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli's death. The treatise is not actually representative of the work published during his lifetime, but it is certainly the most remembered, and the one responsible for bringing "Machiavellian" into wide usage as a pejorative term.

Introduction

The Prince is widely regarded as one of the most influential books on politics, especially on the acquisition, perpetuation, and use of political power in the western world. Machiavelli's observations continue to resonate with politicians, students, and scholars. Not intending his writing to be a scholarly treatise on political theory, Machiavelli wrote The Prince to gain the favor of the ruling Medici family, offering advice on how a prince might gain and keep power.

Machiavelli justified rule by force rather than by law. Accordingly, The Prince seems to justify a number of actions done merely to perpetuate power. It is a classic study of power - how to get it, expand it and use it for maximum effect.

He also makes a point of declaring that he will not discuss republics, stating, "Of Republics I shall not now speak, having elsewhere spoken of them at length. Here I shall treat exclusively of Princedoms, and, filling in the outline above traced out, shall proceed to examine how such States are to be governed and maintained."

(From Wikipedia, description text under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

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