Can Machiavelli be defended by Strauss?

Essay by twittwoo October 2014

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Can Machiavelli be defended against Strauss's accusation of being 'a teacher of evil'?.

Niccolo Machiavelli, arguably the world's most renowned political philosopher was born in 1469 in Florence. Entering the world of politics at the tender age of twenty-five in a tumultuous political period in Italy, Machiavelli started as a clerk. The playwright and poet went onto write some of the most ruthless political theories the world has ever seen, following several years of incarceration due to conspiracy charges. The making of Machiavelli's pragmatism as he stressed, came through his career dealing with diplomatic and military matters. Working with the new republic of Florence, Machiavelli was brought to work and serve the Pope's seat in Rome and the royal courts of Aragon and France. Of these fifteen years he spent writing in his private estate after exile, Machiavelli earned the title the teacher of evil. A teacher none the less, Machiavelli's 'the prince' writes largely of political ideas developed after meetings with some of histories most famous political leaders, Louis XII of France, Emperor Maximilian, Cesar Borgia and Julius II.

The prince, is an extreme analysis of what one must do to acquire and maintain political power, divided into twenty-six chapters, Machiavelli discusses principalities and states to the harsh and strong character a prince should take. Ending with Machiavelli's prayers of wanting Italy's humiliation to end, the prince is one of history's most ruthless political writings in history. "Machiavelli is the only philosopher who has lent the weight of his name to any way of political thinking and political acting which is as old as political society itself" His sole aim of writing the prince was to one day return to a career in politics and win the favor of the de' Medici. However Lorenzo de' Medici took Machiavelli's...