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Machiavelli's The Prince

Posted Aug 22, '12 at 12:38am

shock457

shock457

470 posts

Machiavelli's The Prince background.

Machiavelli was a prince in the Renaissance, but soon, he became a philosopher when the Medicis came into power. Machiavelli wanted to give a gift to them, a letter, explaining how to become a capable prince (which involoves politics). In the letter, Machiavelli gives historical examples from the past and present providing examples for his points.

I really think this is a great book to read, but an extremely hard book to decipher.

 

Posted Aug 22, '12 at 1:07am

314d1

314d1

3,510 posts

You got into the background of the book without getting into the background of the man.

Machiavelli wrote many books. In all his works, he showed a great love for republics (And not strict dictatorships, like in the prince.) A good example would be Discourses on Livy, a book he wrote praising republics and stating how they should be run. A good quote:

“. . . the governments of the people are better than those of princes.” Book I, Chapter LVIII

Now, if he was such a proponent of the republic, why would he wright such a book you ask? It was satire. That is why I love him so much, "The Prince" was like one of my posts on this forum. Read the book again, but read it like it was sarcastic. Notice how it makes a lot more since for a man like him to wright a satire like this then for a man like him to actually mean this...

 

Posted Aug 22, '12 at 1:41am

nichodemus

nichodemus

12,167 posts

Knight

Machiavelli was not a Prince lol. He was a Florentine politician who was hounded out by the monarchy.

And yes I agree with 314. Machiavelli actually presented his book to the Duke who took over; hardly a subtle move, and more of blunt political satire. The book is so anti-Republic that IRS hard to believe Machiavelli meant it properly.

 

Posted Aug 22, '12 at 2:00am

shock457

shock457

470 posts

The Medicis fell and Machiavelli rose in power and became prince of Florence. Soon, Machiavelli gave his power to the Medicis and gave Lorenzo a gift and that gift was a letter on what is a capable prince.

Machivelli was a politician during that time. He used his knowledge of the historical events in the past to further explain his knowledge to Lorenzo.

 

Posted Aug 22, '12 at 2:18am

shock457

shock457

470 posts

My mind isn't set on this because I'm pretty tired.

So, Machiavelli had many ideas such as "It's better to be both fear and loved", "Generosity and Parsimony", or how he used Cesare Borgia as a capable prince.

Many of these were understandable, but some took time to figure out.

 

Posted Aug 22, '12 at 3:48am

nichodemus

nichodemus

12,167 posts

Knight

The Medicis fell; the Florentine Republic briefly comes into power. Machiavelli is then elected as an official. He was in a diplomatic council responsible for negotiation and military affairs. He was not a Prince or even head of state, he was a life long Republican.

He was arrested, charged, imprisoned and tortured by the Medici; hardly the conditions for him to impart sagely advice, which is why many researchers think it was more a snub and jab than anything. Diderot, Rousseau, Johnston all support this claim.

Whether or not the word "satire" is the best choice, there is more general agreement that despite seeming to be written for someone wanting to be a monarch, and not the leader of a republic, the Prince can be read as deliberately emphasizing the benefits of free republics as opposed to monarchies.

 

Posted Aug 22, '12 at 10:11am

314d1

314d1

3,510 posts

The Medicis fell and Machiavelli rose in power and became prince of Florence. Soon, Machiavelli gave his power to the Medicis and gave Lorenzo a gift and that gift was a letter on what is a capable prince.

Where did you learn this story, exactly? When Medicis fell,he became chancery. Basically the equivalent to a modern supreme court judge. It was a republic. And he loved it. Then Medicis came back, and Machiavelli wrote the book to basically mock him and sent a few copies to his friends and relatives. It did not get published greatly until after he was dead, when people kind of forgot it was a joke.

Machivelli was a politician during that time. He used his knowledge of the historical events in the past to further explain his knowledge to Lorenzo.

Half write, he was a politician who used knowledge from the past. He loved the Roman's style of republic and used it to base his ideas off of, as well as many classical Roman and Greek sources. He did not write these down in the prince. He DID write them down in Discourses on Livy, if you want to know what he actually believes.

So, Machiavelli had many ideas such as "It's better to be both fear and loved", "Generosity and Parsimony", or how he used Cesare Borgia as a capable prince.

He was mocking him. Here, say it like your a sarcastic person. "Good job torturing innocent people, my lord! No, really! After all, it is better to be feared then loved *rolls eyes*"

Actually, he believed pretty much the exact opposite of that, saying things like “. . . no prince is ever benefited by making himself hated.” Book III, Chapter XIX, in the book I just mentioned. Look it up some time.

 

Posted Aug 22, '12 at 11:46am

nichodemus

nichodemus

12,167 posts

Knight

He did send a copy to Lorenzo. It's telling that the Duke snubbe him after that.

Anyway, the value of the Prince is not so much it's satirical humor but that generations of autocrats actually took it to heart and carried it out in their own interpretations.

 
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