The Ideas of Machiavelli
An analysis and comparison of two of Niccolo Machiavelli's works, "The Prince" and "Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius".
# 22635 | 865 words | 2 sources | APA | 2002 |
Published on Mar 27, 2003 in History (European) , History (Leaders) , Political Science (Machiavelli, Niccolo) , English (Analysis)
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Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a Florentine historian and political advisor, who has come to be regarded by many as the first political theorist. The paper shows that although he has written many books and papers, on a wide range of topics, the two publications that contribute most to political science are "The Prince" (1532) and "Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius" (1519). The paper discusses the fact that for centuries, the apparently inconsistent and contradictory ideas and arguments presented in these two works have created discussion and debate amongst academics and political scientists. However, when both texts are studied and read within the context of time and place, and taking account of Machiavelli's objectives and aims, it can be argued that the theoretical differences are merely the author's attempt to address two different political situations with the same political philosophy.
From the Paper:"It is true that, if studied in isolation, the ideas presented by Machiavelli in The Prince and Discourses appear to contradict and oppose one another. However, if examined as a logical progression, or cycle, of a state's development from chaotic corruption and decay, to one of stability and republicanism, then a link can be constructed between both works. When taking account of the context, in which the two books were written, it can be seen that, in Machiavelli's opinion, a strong state with a strong leader is essential before liberty or democracy is possible. Such was his belief in liberty and republicanism that Machiavelli believed, in order to achieve them, the use of unjust, deceptive, and oppressive means were justified. When viewed separately The Prince and Discourses appear as two completely isolated theories, but when viewed as a single work they support the old proverb of "the end justifies the means"."
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