He focused primarily on what he called the principe nuovo or "new prince," under the assumption that a hereditary prince needed only to carefully maintain the institutions that the people are used to; a new prince had the much more difficult task of stabilizing his new found power and building a structure that would endure.
Not only was innovative economics and politics a result, but also modern scienceleading some commentators to say that the 18th century Enlightenment involved a "humanitarian" moderating of Machiavellianism. Military stratagems are translated into political maxims of the same calculating objectivity, and a rationally organized and commanded army serves as a model of a rational social organization.
In general, he argues that the more difficult it is to acquire control over a statethe easier it is to hold on to it. Notwithstanding his pessimism about human nature and cynicism about human behavior, he was not without hope. From Poliziano to Machiavelli. Machiavelli was apparently a materialist who objected to explanations involving formal and final causationor teleology.
To reform a corrupt state presupposes a good man, but to become a prince presupposes a bad man. Masquerading as a doctor, Callimaco advises Nicia to administer a potion of mandrake to Lucrezia to render her fertile, but also warns that the drug will have fatal implications for the first man to have intercourse with her.
It is possible to summarize some of the main influences emphasized by different commentators. Machiavelli stuck closely to his motto that a servant of government must be loyal and self-sacrificing. The moderns are weak because they have been formed by Christianity, and, in three places in the Discourses on Livy, Machiavelli boldly and impudently criticizes the Roman Catholic church and Christianity itself.
And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. His dispatches and reports contain ideas that anticipate many of the doctrines of his later works.
He showed the kinds of actions that in varying situations will lead to political success or failure. Commentators such as Quentin Skinner and J. Eliot has remarked that no great man has been so completely misunderstood.
Although few would deny Machiavelli a foremost place among Western political thinkers, his reputation, all too often based on The Prince alone, has long rested on his description of the stratagems by which political power can be seized and conserved without regard for moral ends.
Man is capable of socialization, and more or less desirable characteristics can be imprinted on his original nature by education, in the sense of conditioning.
Xenophon, Plato and Aristotle. Serious critics of Machiavelli sometimes forget that he attempted to describe rather than to invent the rules of political success. Their relative importance is however a subject of on-going discussion.
I am no longer afraid of poverty or frightened of death. The Medici for centuries the rulers of Florence, but exiled since seized the opportunity to depose Soderini and replace the republican government with their own autocratic regime.
His important writings were composed after when he was accused of conspiracy in I mean, I know that at the time, Italy was humiliated because so many others from foreign countries were coming in and ruling their states.
Religion[ edit ] Machiavelli explains repeatedly that he saw religion as man-made, and that the value of religion lies in its contribution to social order and the rules of morality must be dispensed with if security requires it. The apparent solution to the problem is to let bad men gain glory through actions that have a good outcome, if not a good motive.
Three principal writers took the field against Machiavelli between the publication of his works and their condemnation in and again by the Tridentine Index in An anomalous seventeenth-century commentator, philosopher Pierre Bayle, found it "strange" that "there are so many people, who believe, that Machiavel teaches princes dangerous politics; for on the contrary princes have taught Machiavel what he has written.
Scrupulously honest, he was also generous and tolerant and had unusual courage and integrity. Early inMachiavelli was accused of complicity in a plot against the Medicis. He undertook to describe simply what rulers actually did and thus anticipated what was later called the scientific spirit in which questions of good and bad are ignored, and the observer attempts to discover only what really happens.
His duties consisted chiefly of carrying out the policy decisions of others, writing diplomatic letters, reading and writing reports, and taking notes; he also went on some twenty-three diplomatic missions formal visits by a representative of a nation to foreign countries to conduct discussions on international affairs to foreign states.
Bernardo died inMachiavelli's mother, Bartolomea de' Nelli, had died in Whether Machiavelli could have had so grand an ambition remains controversial, but all agree on his greatness—his novelty, the penetration of his mind, and the grace of his style.
For example, quite early in the Discourses, in Book I, chapter 4a chapter title announces that the disunion of the plebs and senate in Rome "kept Rome free. On the threshold, I take off my work clothes, covered in mud and filth, and I put on the clothes an ambassador would wear.
The conception of social conflict as un-natural ran parallel to the Aristotelian concept that matter at rest is more natural than matter in motion. Moreover, from tohe witnessed the brutal reality of the state-building methods of Cesare Borgia — and his father, Pope Alexander VIwho were then engaged in the process of trying to bring a large part of Central Italy under their possession.
Critics have found it ironic that the fiercely republican Machiavelli should have written a handbook advising an autocratic leader how best to acquire and maintain power and security. Since he viewed domestic politics as a kind of war-fare and dealt with political matters as a general might deal with the problem of defeating an enemy, it is not surprising that he wrote about politics as classical military theorists wrote about war.Learn about how Niccolo Machiavelli became one of the most influential political theorists of Western philosophy.
Niccolò Machiavelli's Life, Philosophy & Influence Share Flipboard Email Literary Works. Machiavelli was a fine writer. He left us two fresh and entertaining comedies. One of the most important early works dedicated to criticism of Machiavelli, especially The Prince, The Life of Niccolò Machiavelli (), a standard scholarly biography; Schevill, Ferdinand.
The Comedy and Tragedy of Machiavelli: Essays on the Literary Works, Born: 3 MayFlorence, Republic of Florence. Early life Niccolò Machiavelli was born on May 3,in Florence, Italy, of nobility, though by no means wealth.
His parents, Bernardo and Bartolomea, had three other children, two daughters and a son. The Literary Works of MachiavelliLiterary Works of Machiavelli (drama, poetry, and novella; also see below), While little of the author's early life has been documented, it is known that as a boy he learned Latin and that he quickly became an assiduous reader of the ancient classics.
Ridolfi, Roberto, The Life of Niccolo Machiavelli. Books and Other Works. Early Life and Diplomatic Career. Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy, on May 3, — a time when Italy was divided into four rival city.
Personal Background. Niccolò Machiavelli was born in the city of Florence, Italy, on May 3, His father, Bernardo Machiavelli, was a lawyer, although not a very prosperous one, with much of his income derived from family property rather than his law practice.Download