This essay intends to examine whether the political models set out in The Discourses on the first ten books of Livy are an accurate representation of a Machiavellian ideal, or if a separate agenda renders it inadequate to express his true view of politics.
He also spent two years studying business mathematics, then worked for the next seven years in Rome for a Florentine banker.
After returning to Florence inhe witnessed the expulsion of the Medici family, oligarchic despots who had ruled Florence for decades, and the rise of Girolamo Savanorola, a Dominican religious zealot who took control of the region shortly thereafter.
Italy at that time became the scene of intense political conflict. Each of these powers attempted to pursue a strategy of playing the other powers off of one other, but they also engaged in less honorable practices such as blackmail and violence.
Because Savanorola criticized the leadership of the Church, Pope Alexander VI cut his reign short by excommunicating him in The next year, at the age of twenty-nine, Machiavelli entered the Florentine government as head of the Second Chancery and secretary to the Council of Ten for War.
In his role as chancellor, he was sent to France on a diplomatic mission in In exchange for a marriage annulment, Louis helped the pope establish his son, Cesare Borgia, as the duke of Romagna. Borgia was a cunning, cruel, and vicious politician, and many people despised him.
Nevertheless, Machiavelli believed Borgia had the traits necessary for any leader who would seek to unify Italy. InMachiavelli married Marietta di Lodovico Corsini, with whom he had six children. Julius II later banished Borgia to Spain, where he died in Inthe Medici family regained control of Florence, and Machiavelli was dismissed from office.
A year later he was wrongly accused of participating in a conspiracy to restore the republic, held in jail for three weeks, and tortured on the rack. In he began writing his Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, a book that focused on states controlled by a politically active citizenry.
It was not finished untilmainly because he interrupted his work on Discourses to write The Prince. Machiavelli desperately wanted to return to politics. But Medici received the book indifferently, and Machiavelli did not receive an invitation to serve as an official.
But slowly, as word spread, the book began to be criticized as immoral, evil, and wicked. The Florentines expelled their Medici ruler, and Machiavelli tried to retake the office he had left so before.
But his reputation got in the way of his ambitions. He was now too closely associated with the Medicis, and the republic rejected him. Classical political theory traditionally linked political law with a higher, moral law. In contrast, Machiavelli argues that political action must always be considered in light of its practical consequences rather than some lofty ideal.
Another striking feature of The Prince is that it is far less theoretical than the literature on political theory that preceded it. Many earlier thinkers had constructed hypothetical notions of ideal or natural states, but Machiavelli treated historical evidence pragmatically to ground The Prince in real situations.
The book is dedicated to the current ruler of Florence, and it is readily apparent that Machiavelli intends for his advice to be taken seriously by the powerful men of his time.
It is a practical guide for a ruler rather than an abstract treatise of philosophy. Medieval and Renaissance thinkers often looked to religion or ancient authors for explanations of plagues, famines, invasions, and other calamities; they considered the actual prevention of such disasters to be beyond the scope of human power.
In The Prince, when Machiavelli argues that people have the ability to shield themselves against misfortune, he expresses an extraordinary confidence in the power of human self-determination and affirms his belief in free will as opposed to divine destiny. His political thought is usually—and unfairly—defined solely in terms of The Prince.In The Prince, when Machiavelli argues that people have the ability to shield themselves against misfortune, he expresses an extraordinary confidence in the power of human self-determination and affirms his belief in free will as opposed to divine destiny.
The Machiavelli interpreters, who are accused of downplaying the differences between The Prince and the Discourses, are Federico Chabod, Friedrich Meinecke and, notably, Leo Strauss.
In a footnote, Skinner acknowledges Hans Baron's article of , "Machiavelli the Republican Citizen and the Author of . The role of the people in the two works of Machiavelli: The Prince and The Discourses.
In “The Prince” Machiavelli refers to the people as inhabitants, subjects, private citizens, populace and two years later, writing “The Discourses” he also uses the words: masses, the general public, the plebs, and “have-nots”.Pages: 4.
While he is primarily associated with his work “The Prince,” his “Discourses on Livy” actually provide a far more accurate picture of his political philosophy and attitudes.
No secondary sources listed. Comparison of Machiavelli's and Hobbe's Views on Government. The Principality & the Republic Machiavelli’s Protectors of Liberty.
82 in The Prince; Machiavelli uses The Prince and the Discourses to propagate the idea of lib-erty. By looking at his other scholarly works, namely the Discourses, the reader.
A prince must learn to act like both the fox and the lion: he must learn, like the lion, how to frighten off wolves and, like the fox, how to recognize the traps. In dealing with people, a prince must break his promises when they put him at a disadvantage and when the .