The Prince Summary - Machiavelli

Topics: Florence, House of Medici, Political philosophy Pages: 2 (581 words) Published: December 14, 2014
Ryan Bourque
AP European Statistics
Mrs. Flemming
Machiavelli: The Prince
Machiavelli’s The Prince is a short treatise, written in 1513 and published in 1532, about how one should rule. Since its publication, The Prince has been surrounded by popularity and controversy. It is considered the first modern philosophical political work of literature, considering its message reflects certain modern ethical political themes. Widely circulated at the time, The Prince is about how princes, either hereditarily empowered or newly crowned, should rule over human subjects. Machiavelli himself was a historian, politician, diplomat and philosopher. He was well established and he lived in Florence during the Renaissance. Niccolò Machiavelli also held positions within the Florentine government. At one point he worked as a diplomat and political advisor for the Republic of Florence. Despite his political wit, the Medici family disliked him, and when the Medici family came back into power in 1512, they banished Machiavelli from Florence, thus ending his political career. While Machiavelli was in political exile, he wrote many great works, one of them being The Prince.

In chapter 17 of The Prince, Machiavelli outlines how rulers should be viewed by their subjects. He discusses if princes should be loved or feared. In answering this question he gives an aura of ambiguity, “One ought to be both loved and feared; but, since it is difficult to accomplish both at the same time, I maintain it is much safer to be feared than loved.” (Machiavelli, The Prince). Machiavelli casts a dark light on ruling over men, suggesting that it is better to be feared than loved. As a result, many of his contemporaries view him as more shameless than he considered himself. Machiavelli had an obvious bias when it comes to this subject matter. Being a politician, he was supportive of this type of government authority. He often used tyrant and prince as synonyms. He figured that it was better...
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