The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

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Book ReportThe Prince by Niccolo MachiavelliIn the early sixteenth century Italy was divided up into several isolated city states. It was the battle ground between the papal armies, France, Spain and the German kingdoms in the North. One of these city states was Florence which at that time was under the rule of a free republic government. One of the government officials was Niccolo Machiavelli. He was born in Florence and lived from 1469 to 1527. His father was a lawyer and he received a good education. He started working for the Florentine government and worked himself up to a high position within the government. In 1512, the Spanish invaded Florence and deposed the republic government and placed Lorenzo De Medici as the new Prince of Florence. As Niccolo Machiavelli was part of the outgoing republican administration, he was put under house arrest. A year later he was tried for treason and sentenced to exile for life.

In his exile, Machiavelli wrote The Prince to regain favour with Lorenzo de Medici. It was a handbook on how to rule a newly acquired principality. Unfortunately for him his plan did not work and he was forced to live out the rest of his life in exile. Although he never returned to political power, his book went on to have an influence on Renaissance and Enlightenment politics. The Prince contains some controversial ideas and strays from previous treatises on politics. It is in fact the first book on political theory and rather than suggesting utopias, it suggests how to handle principalities practically. Machiavelli uses his own experiences of the Florentine political scene to convince Lorenzo of his political usefulness. As he was writing to please an authoritarian leader, Machiavelli uses many immoral and harsh ideas. We must remember that Machiavelli...