The Prince

The Prince

A Revised Translation, Backgrounds, Interpretations, Marginalia

Book - 1992
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This work is a 16th-century political treatise written by the Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). The first two chapters describe the book's scope, defines the various types of principalities and princes and introduces the book's main concerns -- power politics, war craft, and popular goodwill. The author offers practical advice on a variety of matters, including the advantages and disadvantages of various routes to political power, how to acquire and hold new states, how to deal with internal insurrection, how to make alliances, and how to maintain a strong military. Implicit in these chapters are Machiavelli's views regarding free will, human nature, and ethics. He then discusses the qualities of the prince himself. Broadly speaking, this discussion is guided by his underlying view that lofty ideals translate into bad government. This premise is especially true with respect to personal virtue. Certain virtues may be admired for their own sake, but for a prince to act in accordance with virtue is often detrimental to the state. Similarly, certain vices may be frowned upon, but vicious actions are sometimes indispensable to the good of the state. Machiavelli combines this line of reasoning with another: the theme that obtaining the goodwill of the populace is the best way to maintain power. Thus, the appearance of virtue may be more important than true virtue, which may be seen as a liability. The final sections link the book to a specific historical context: Italy's disunity. Machiavelli sets down his account and explanation of the failure of past Italian rulers and concludes with an impassioned plea to the future rulers of the nation. Machiavelli asserts the belief that only Lorenzo de' Medici, to whom the book is dedicated, can restore Italy's honor and pride.
The complete text of Machiavelli's best-known work, along with excerpts from some of his other writings and letters, and critical essays by J.R. Hale, Felix Gilbert, Leo Strauss, and others.
Publisher: New York : Norton, ©1992.
Edition: Second edition.
ISBN: 9780393091496
Branch Call Number: 320.1 MACHIAVELLI 1992
Characteristics: xix, 288 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.


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