Biography of and Principles Taught By Niccolo Machiavelli

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Machiavelli Essay: Question 1
Born in the 15th century, Niccolò Machiavelli was an Italian historian, politician, philosopher, diplomat and humanist. Following his career as an official in the Florentine Republic, Machiavelli was a founder of modern political science and political ethics. In the political treatise The Prince, written in 1532, Machiavelli outlines several key traits of a successful princedom such as; how to incorporate newly acquired provinces, the most successful way to conquer territories, the establishment of successful defense and military forces, as well as qualities which would make for the most desirable prince. Machiavelli also brings to attention the pitfalls of previous Italian princes as to prevent the same mistakes from reoccurring. In The Discourses on Livy Machiavelli discusses things that were currently happening within Rome as a result of the public council, the decision made by the Roman people in an attempt to increase the empire, as well as the actions made by select men which made Rome a successful nation. During the times of political uncertainty Machiavelli responds to the need for a stable political structure and the moral basis for which this structure would exists, as well as the interest of the individual and the state in conjunction with the Italian environment in an age of great city states.
Italian politics during the 15th century were in a state of flux as a result of the Renaissance in the 14th century. Machiavelli attempts to outline the ideal autocratic regime which would emphasize the need for realism over the currently favored idealist mindset. Current Italian political and ethical goals were based on the idea that the people must wait for changes to occur by chance, whereas Machi...

... middle of paper ...…but enables men of private fortune…” (Machiavelli Chapter XIV). It is through the use of superior warfare that princes can remain in power and provide stable leadership.
By building his career as a diplomat serving the Florentine republic, Niccolò Machiavelli constructs advice for both princes and the citizens of the republic. Machiavelli believes that there is a strong need for a stable and centralized poltical authority and that the moral basis for this rule should be constructed not on the previous values of luck and virtue but by the ideas of determination and choice. To create a successful city state in the current environment of Italy an importance must be placed not just on strategic warfare but on many other personal choices made by the political leaders.

Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince and the Discourses. New York: Modern Library, 1950.

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