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Niccolo Machiavelli

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Machiavelli.
    1. Early life.
    2. Concern with study of political reality using history or interpretations.
  3. The Prince: Advice for a good prince.
    1. Princes must know the art of war.
    2. A prince must 'commits himself'.
    3. Choosing between being loved or feared.
    4. Ignoring injustices.
  4. His division of the kinds of political systems in two parts.
    1. The bad.
    2. The good.
  5. His book Discourses.
    1. cynicism about human nature.
    2. Influence of the ideas of Aristotle and Plato.
  6. A major response to Machiavelli's work.
  7. The speach by Montesquieu.
  8. Conclusion.
  9. References.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) is one of the most ambiguous political scientist of the history. Some used to qualify him as being immoral because of his promotion of force and deception to protect a State. However, according to the researchers that have analyzed his works, he is ?the restorer of the Roman conception as civil wisdom [?] and the founder of the theory of modern republicanism based upon this conception? (Viroli, 1). He is also considered as ?the first writer to move way from the paternalism of traditional society, towards something closer to our own notions of democracy? (Cohen, 33). Who is he in reality? What are his major goals? These are some of the questions that I will try to answer. Machiavelli was born in Italy. At this time, Italy was a wealthy, cultural, and politically stable country. It was divided into communes or oligarchies governed by princes or elite. Cities that choose another political system were rare but used to exist; one of these was Florence from which Machiavelli is rooted in.

[...] One of the rare point in which Guicciardini does not follow Machiavelli is that he could not ?adopt openly the anti-Christian statecraft? as Machiavelli does. He preferred to stick to the accepted and permitted ways of thinking of this time. It clearly appears, in this dialogue, that Guicciardini is very respectful of Machiavelli's work because, as we have seen, most of his ideas are the echo's of Machiavelli's ones. To conclude, Machiavelli is the first major European writer to encourage political freedom and consider it as a real virtue. [...]

[...] Concerning the religion, prince is higher moral than no moral at all; Machiavelli heralds the tactics of the emerging secular societies in redefining their relationship with the moral authority of the Church? (Cohen, 37). Also, when necessary, prince has to do evil. Machiavelli states, in The Prince, that is as well to seem merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, and religious and also to be so; but you must have the mind so disposed that when it is needful to be otherwise you may change to the opposite qualities [and] do evil if constrained? (Cohen, 37). [...]

[...] Machiavelli had the will of renovating and enhancing the beauty of Roman republic; he also wanted to ?understand the sense of political processes of his own time, and to tell stories to remind his contemporaries of the political ideals they had forgotten? (Viroli, 1). Actually, Machiavelli was more concerned with the study of political reality using History or interpretations rather than using scientific methods. He wrote as an orator, using the classical rhetoric; wrote to persuade, to delight, to move, to impel to act [ ] (Viroli, 3). [...]

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