Friday, October 28, 2011

The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli

the prince, Niccolo MachiavelliThe Prince (Il Principe) is a political treatise by the Italian historian, philosopher, political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli (3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527). It is one of the most influential and controversial books in history and still debated centuries after its publication.

The Prince is a manual to acquiring and keeping political power. The Prince contains a number of maxims concerning politics, but rather than the more traditional subject of a hereditary prince, it concentrates on the possibility of a "new prince". To retain power, the hereditary prince must carefully maintain the socio-political institutions to which the people are accustomed; whereas a new prince has the more difficult task in ruling, since he must first stabilize his new-found power in order to build an enduring political structure. That requires the prince being concerned with reputation but also being willing to act immorally. Machiavelli emphasises the occasional need for the methodical exercise of brute force, deceit, and so on.

“[Machiavelli] can still engage our attention with remarkable immediacy, and this cannot be explained solely by the appeal of his ironic observations on human behaviour. Perhaps the most important thing is the way he can compel us to reflect on our own priorities and the reasoning behind them; it is this intrusion into our own defenses that makes reading him an intriguing experience. As a scientific exponent of the political art Machiavelli may have had few followers; it is as a provocative rhetorician that he has had his real impact on history.” –from the Introduction by Dominic Baker-Smith

The Prince [Kindle Edition]


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