The Prince

In Defense of Niccolo Machiavelli Against the Slanderous Use of His Name

In 1532, a divisive pamphlet was published which established the foundation of modern political science while merging classical pagan philosophy with Renaissance humanism. (Fry) The Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli, was condemned immediately after publication by Pope Clement VIII (Lin) to due Machiavelli's disdain for the socially acceptable morals of his time. The book was dedicated to Lorenzo de Medici, the head of the ruling family of Machiavelli's native city Florentine, and within its pages Machiavelli illustrated the political tract a "prince" --- or ruler --- should follow to retain complete power over those they rule. He advocated maintaining absolute dominance by employing any means necessary to justify a worthwhile end. Since its publication, The Prince has been attacked as a "book inspired by the devil," (Kreeft) an evil and immoral untruth. The reception of The Prince has been so adverse across the centuries that the negative connotation "Machiavellian" has entered into the English vocabulary, meaning one of "subtle or unscrupulous cunning, deception, expediency, or dishonesty." (Pearson) However, Machiavelli was by no means an evil man, and is wholly undeserving...

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