Niccolo Machiavelli: Il Principe [The Prince]

(2091 words)

Machiavelli's Principe [The Prince] is the most famous, or infamous, of Machiavelli's writings, in that it is the text which above all others has secured Machiavelli's reputation within the history of ideas as the advocate of a secularised politics emptied of ethical content. Although the term “Machiavellian” is a protean concept, the persistent tendency, which has survived through to the present day, has been to identify Machiavellianism with the expediency and amorality deemed necessary to the exercise of effective politics. The evidence for what might be called this “classic” version of Machiavellianism is the several assertions in The Prince which appear to encourage a purely instrumental attitude towards …

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Mousley, Andrew. "Il Principe". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]

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  1. Renaissance and Humanism