The leader attempts to persuade his followers that after all the violence they have already committed—arson, looting, and the pillaging of churches—it would be a grave error to stop now. If they want their old evils to be forgiven, he tells them, they ought to commit new ones. It pains me much when I hear that out of conscience many of you repent the deeds that have been done and that you wish to abstain from new deeds; and certainly, if this is true, you are not the men I believed you to be, for neither conscience nor infamy should dismay you, because those who win, in whatever mode they win, never receive shame from it…. But if you will take note of the mode of proceeding of men, you will see that all those who come to great riches and great power have obtained them either by fraud or by force; and afterwards, to hide the ugliness of acquisition, they make it decent by applying the false title of earnings to things they have usurped by deceit or by violence.
Biography Relatively little is known for certain about Machiavelli's early life in comparison with many important figures of the Italian Renaissance the following section draws on Capponi and Vivanti He was born 3 May in Florence and at a young age became a pupil of a renowned Latin teacher, Paolo da Ronciglione.
It is speculated that he attended the University of Florence, and even a cursory glance at his corpus reveals that he received an excellent humanist education.
It is only with his entrance into public view, with his appointment as the Second Chancellor of the Republic of Florence, however, that we begin to acquire a full and accurate picture of his life. For the next fourteen years, Machiavelli engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity on behalf of Florence, travelling to the major centers of Italy as well as to the royal court of France and to the imperial curia of Maximilian.
We have letters, dispatches, and occasional writings that testify to his political assignments as well as to his acute talent for the analysis of personalities and institutions.
Florence had been under a republican government sincewhen the leading Medici family and its supporters had been driven from power. During this time, Machiavelli thrived under the patronage of the Florentine gonfaloniere or chief administrator for lifePiero Soderini.
Inhowever, with the assistance of Spanish troops, the Medici defeated the republic's armed forces and dissolved the government.
Machiavelli was a direct victim of the regime change: His retirement thereafter to his farm outside of Florence afforded the occasion and the impetus for him to turn to literary pursuits. The first of his writings in a more reflective vein was also ultimately the one most commonly associated with his name, The Prince.
Written at the end of and perhaps earlybut only formally published posthumously inThe Prince was composed in great haste by an author who was, among other things, seeking to regain his status in the Florentine government. Many of his colleagues in the republican government were quickly rehabilitated and returned to service under the Medici.
Originally written for presentation to Giuliano de'Medici who may well have appreciated itthe dedication was changed, upon Giuliano's death, to Lorenzo de'Medici, who almost certainly did not read it when it came into his hands in Meanwhile, Machiavelli's enforced retirement led him to other literary activities.
He wrote verse, plays, and short prose, penned a study of The Art of War published inand produced biographical and historical sketches.
Most importantly, he composed his other major contribution to political thought, the Discourses on the Ten Books of Titus Livy, an exposition of the principles of republican rule masquerading as a commentary on the work of the famous historian of the Roman Republic.
Unlike The Prince, the Discourses was authored over a long period of time commencing perhaps in or and completed in oralthough again only published posthumously in The book may have been shaped by informal discussions attended by Machiavelli among some of the leading Florentine intellectual and political figures under the sponsorship of Cosimo Rucellai.
Near the end of his life, and probably as a result of the aid of well-connected friends whom he never stopped badgering for intervention, Machiavelli began to return to the favor of the Medici family. Inhe was commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de'Medici to compose a History of Florence, an assignment completed in and presented to the Cardinal, who had since ascended the papal throne as Clement VII, in Rome.
Other small tasks were forthcoming from the Medici government, but before he could achieve a full rehabilitation, he died on 21 June Analyzing Power It has been a common view among political philosophers that there exists a special relationship between moral goodness and legitimate authority.
Many authors especially those who composed mirror-of-princes books or royal advice books during the Middle Ages and Renaissance believed that the use of political power was only rightful if it was exercised by a ruler whose personal moral character was strictly virtuous.
Thus rulers were counseled that if they wanted to succeed—that is, if they desired a long and peaceful reign and aimed to pass their office down to their offspring—they must be sure to behave in accordance with conventional standards of ethical goodness.
In a sense, it was thought that rulers did well when they did good; they earned the right to be obeyed and respected inasmuch as they showed themselves to be virtuous and morally upright. It is precisely this moralistic view of authority that Machiavelli criticizes at length in his best-known treatise, The Prince.
For Machiavelli, there is no moral basis on which to judge the difference between legitimate and illegitimate uses of power. Rather, authority and power are essentially coequal: The Prince purports to reflect the self-conscious political realism of an author who is fully aware—on the basis of direct experience with the Florentine government—that goodness and right are not sufficient to win and maintain political office.
Machiavelli thus seeks to learn and teach the rules of political power.
For Machiavelli, power characteristically defines political activity, and hence it is necessary for any successful ruler to know how power is to be used.Concentrating on the claim in The Prince that a head of state ought to do good if he can, but must be prepared to commit evil if he must (Machiavelli , 58), Skinner argues that Machiavelli prefers conformity to moral virtue ceteris paribus.
Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince is an exceedingly truthful political treatise written in the 15th century. Although it was written as a tribute to Lorenzo The Magnificent to re-establish Machiavelli back into nobility, it is regarded as one of the most thoughtful and to-the-point political pieces of all time.
The Prince 2 Nicolo Machiavelli CHAPTER II Concerning Hereditary Principalities WILL leave out all discussion on republics, inasmuch as in another place I have written of them at length, 1 and will address myself only to principalities. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes The Prince Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.
Machiavelli, The Prince, p. “I know that everyone will confess that it would be a very praiseworthy thing to find in a prince all of the above-mentioned qualities that are held good”; pp. “How praiseworthy it is for a prince to keep his faith, and to live with . an analysis of machiavellis teachings in the prince by niccol machiavelli Thanks to our supporters.
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