Florence in the 1500s was a hotbed of politics and intrigue. In this setting, Machiavelli wrote a short treatise on how a political figure can remain in power after newly acquiring a territory.
Machiavelli spends a few chapters defining the political systems that he is writing about. He enumerates a number of types of states and how they may have been acquired. It is later in the book that the famous passages occur. He is most famous for his discussion of being feared or loved, but he also discusses being generous or parsimonious. These sections stand out for their bleak pragmatism and are what people think of when they hear the word “Machaivellian.” Machiavelli also counsels future rulers on the type of men one should employ from servants to nobles. He especially cautions against flatterers, which merit their own chapter. “The Prince” will remain a classic for students of philosophy, history and strategy.
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