Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian statesman and author and prominent figure of the Renaissance, was born on May 3rd, 1469. His father was Bernardo di Niccoli, who belonged to an impoverished part of an old Florentine family, and there is little recorded about his youth.
It was in the independent city-state of Florence that he began an active career as a politician as a young man, becoming part of important diplomatic missions throughout Europe. He met with some of the most famous figures of his time and all history, such as Pope Alexander IV, and his son Cesare Borgia, as well as King Louis VII of France and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. He had spent more than a decade in public service when the republic he worked for collapsed.
In 1512, the Medici regained power, and although Machiavelli hoped to retain his career under the new government, he was dismissed on November 7th. Not long after his dismissal, he was put in jail and tortured under accusations of conspiracy against the Medici. After his release, he retired to a place just outside of Florence and dedicated himself to literature.
He created several important, mostly politically based writings during the Renaissance, most famous of which is The Prince. Originally written in hopes of winning favor and regaining his job with the Medici government, he dedicated it to Lorenzo II de' Medici, the current ruler of Florence. It did not, however, get him his government position back, and there is actually no prove that Lorenzo ever even read it. If examined at all, it was received as unimportant by the government. It caused little fuss with the public when it was first published, but later became known as an immoral and cruel interpretation of an ideal ruler. It was r...
... middle of paper ...
... roughly. Although the metaphor seems harsh in our times, it was not at all shocking in its own day and received no outward criticism.
Although it was a little slow to get started, I enjoyed reading "The Prince" after the first few chapters. Thinking about it in terms of what to write for this paper, and the research that I did to help me understand the context of the writings, helped answer a lot of curious questions I never understood about the Renaissance period and how its rulers developed.
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. New York, NY: W. W. Norton and Complany, Inc., 1997
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince and The Discourses, New York, NY: Modern Library,1950
Mckay, John P, Bennet D. Hill, and John Buckler. A History of Western Society. Boston, MA: Houghton Miffline Company, 2006
Mansfield, Harvey Claflin. Machiavelli's Virtue. Chicago, OH, 1998
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Arguably, the most Machiavellian leader to ever exist would be Joseph Stalin. He abided by three major Machiavellian methods that were stated in the Prince: the ends justifies the means, crush any opposition, and displaying a false character. Stalin had a plan for Russia and did everything in his power to achieve that plan. He wanted to transform Russia into a industrial superpower, a military superpower, and a political superpower. To achieve his goals he committed many horrible crimes against humanity.... [tags: Machiavelli, The Prince]
2033 words (5.8 pages)
- Ethics in Machiavelli's The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian statesman and political philosopher. He was employed on diplomatic missions as defence secretary of the Florentine republic, and was tortured when the Medici returned to power in 1512. When he retired from public life he wrote his most famous work, The Prince (1532), which describes the means by which a leader may gain and maintain power. The Prince has had a long and chequered history and the number of controversies that it has generated is indeed surprising.... [tags: Machiavelli The Prince]
1513 words (4.3 pages)
- The Powerful Truth of The Prince Before 1513 conventional thought defined a ruler as a man who used generosity, truth and justice to govern his kingdom. Machiavelli saw the conventional thought of the time as a fantasy and only applicable in a utopian society. His work The Prince shatters all previous political thought by stating that a ruler must not only use the traditionally accepted means of maintaining power but also be able to use brute force, deceit and even cruelty as the situation requires.... [tags: Machiavelli The Prince Essays]
1498 words (4.3 pages)
- Niccolò Machiavelli thoroughly discusses the importance of religion in the formation and maintenance of political authority in his famous works, The Prince and The Discourses. In his writing on religion, he states that religion is beneficiary in the formation of political authority and political leaders must support and endorse religion in order to maintain power. However, Machiavelli also critiques corrupt religious institutions that become involved in politics and in turn, cause corruption in the citizenry and divisions among the state.... [tags: Machiavelli Prince Religion Religious Essays]
2286 words (6.5 pages)
- The Power of Machiavelli’s The Prince Nowadays, it is politically impossible to commit to paper a “training guide” for leaders. There are innumerable detractors to any possible stance or strategy a leader might adopt. As a result of this, all “training” must take place behind closed doors, far from the prying eyes and ears of the news media or the public. But this has not always been the case. Niccolò Machiavelli was brave enough to give the leaders of his day a how-to guide. In this work, The Qualities of a Prince, we are given a point-by-point description of what a leader should do to effectively lead his country.... [tags: Machiavelli The Prince Essays]
858 words (2.5 pages)
- Machiavelli's The Prince: Politics, War, and Human Nature "[I]t is necessary for a prince to know well how to use the beast and the man." (Machiavelli, The Prince, p. 69). In this swift blow, Niccolò Machiavelli seems to strike down many visions of morality put up on pedestals by thinkers before his time. He doesn't turn to God or to some sort of common good for his political morality. Instead, he turns to the individual?more specifically, self-preservation in a position of power.... [tags: Machiavelli Prince Essays Papers]
1327 words (3.8 pages)
- The Prince and the Modern Executive Few question The Prince’s place in the canon of western literature. That it marks a turning point in our collective history, the origin of the study of politics as a science (Pollock 43), is alone enough to warrant its classification as a "Great Book. Its author, Niccolo Machiavelli, a contemporary of Copernicus, is generally accepted as an early contributor to the scientific revolution, because he looked at power and the nature of sovereignty through the eyes of a scientist, focused completely on the goal without regard for religion and morals and ethics.... [tags: Machiavelli The Prince Essays]
1959 words (5.6 pages)
- The Prince - Machiavelli’s Italian Politics The Prince was one of the first humanist works of the Renaissance. Indeed it is a work of art, a literary masterpiece of sorts. Yet this work has been vehemently debated over the centuries and remains one of the most controversial pieces of writing today. Although many critics consider The Prince a satire, simply an attempt to reveal the problems with the ruling class, most see Machiavelli’s work as a serious attempt to lay the groundwork for the reunification of Italy under the Medici family of Florence.... [tags: Machiavelli Prince]
383 words (1.1 pages)
- Niccolo Machiavelli lived in Florence, Italy in the 1400’s. The country of Italy was divided into city-states that had their own leaders, but all pledged alliance to their king. In time in which great leaders were needed in order to help the development of a city-state and country, Machiavelli had a theory that man needed a leader to control them. In his book The Prince, he speaks of the perfect leader. I believe that man, by nature, is neither good nor evil. When a child comes out of its mother, one cannot tell whether or not that child will be a serial killer or win the Nobel Peace prize.... [tags: Machiavelli The Prince Essays]
653 words (1.9 pages)
- Separating Political Conduct and Personal Morality in Niccolò Machiavelli's, The Prince Niccolò Machiavelli wrote, in his novel The Prince, that strong central political leadership was more important than anything else, including religion and moral behavior. Machiavelli, writing during a period of dramatic change known as the Italian Renaissance, displayed attitudes towards many issues, mostly political, which supported his belief that strong government was the most important element in society.... [tags: Machiavelli Prince Essays Papers]
2147 words (6.1 pages)