Machiavelli’s Political Ideas and Influence
By: Reed Rosencrans
The Renaissance took place in Italy during the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries. The Renaissance was a “rebirth” and revival of political and social ideas from the Ancient Greek and Roman eras. One social ideal of the Renaissance was Humanism. Humanism was a Renaissance idea that emphasis human potential and ability. A political idea from the Renaissance was political realism. Political realism is when a ruler accomplishes goals in the interest of state and does not mind resorting to violence if necessary. A major author and political figure from the Renaissance who embodied political realism was Niccolo Machiavelli. Machiavelli was a Florentine born in 1469 and lived during the crux of the Renaissance. Before his career as an author Machiavelli was a Florentine ambassador in France and The Holy Roman Empire. Machiavelli studied Renaissance humanism and political realism. As a reaction to what he saw in the north, In 1513 Machiavelli wrote The Prince, which explained his ideas and experiences from his time as an ambassador. The Prince was a how-to book on how to rule a country and how to conduct yourself as ruler. After Machiavelli wrote the Prince he became a chief political figure in the Medici. The Medici were a wealthy banking family that consolidated power in Florence. Machiavelli worked as a political advisor to the family until he died in 1527. Machiavelli’s discusses his ideas in The Prince. In the Prince Machiavelli explains his unique and different ideas such as political realism and ruling with the best interests of the state. Also he influenced rulers in the Renaissance, and today in modern political theory.
Before writing The Prince Machiavelli was an ambassador in France and the Holy Roman Empire. During his time in Northern Europe as an ambassador Machiavelli concluded that the people in the north were barbaric, but if there was a war between Italy and one of the Northern...
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