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The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli Pdf | 239 Pages

The Prince is a 16th-century political treatise written by Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli as an instruction guide for new princes and royals.

The Prince Summary

Although The Prince eventually found widespread circulation and fame, its original intent was to serve as a handbook for one specific ruler and to ingratiate Machiavelli back into the political elite. He begins the book with a dedication to Lorenzo de Medici, a member of the ruling Medici family which had previously imprisoned, tortured, and banished Machiavelli following its rise to power. The Prince!

Early in his work, Machiavelli lays out two disclaimers important to his philosophy of how princes should seize and maintain power. The first is to explain his usage of the word state to refer to any distinct sovereign region and to clarify that all states are either republics, in which the people hold power through electing a representative, or principalities, which are monarchies.

The second disclaimer explains that his discussions will concern only principalities because he has written of republics at length in other works.

Each of the book’s 26 chapters explains Machiavelli’s vision as to what actions that a prince should take in order to maintain power. The chapters can be divided into four basic sections: types of principalities, defense and military, the qualities and behavior of a prince, and prudence and fate.

Chapters 1 through 11 discuss the several different types of principalities, such as those inherited by the ruler through family, those which are a mixture of inherited and newly annexed territories, those which are entirely new and have been acquired through force, and those which are Ecclesiastical in nature and under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope.

Chapters 12 through 14 discuss the prince as military leader and the different types of armies, including those consisting entirely of native troops, those consisting entirely of hired mercenary soldiers, those consisting of auxiliary troops borrowed from other rules, and those which consist of a mixture of native, mercenary, or auxiliary troops.

Chapters 15-23 discuss the behavior of a prince in regard to characteristics such as generosity, cruelty, faithfulness, and reputation. Over the final three chapters Machiavelli discusses Italy’s current political state and how the issues of prudence, chance, and free will contributed to it being under the control of foreign powers. 

The Prince is an extended analysis of how to acquire and maintain political power. It includes 26 chapters and an opening dedication to Lorenzo de Medici. The dedication declares Machiavelli’s intention to discuss in plain language the conduct of great men and the principles of princely government. He does so in hope of pleasing and enlightening the Medici family. The Prince!

The book’s 26 chapters can be divided into four sections: Chapters 1-11 discuss the different types of principalities or states, Chapters 12-14 discuss the different types of armies and the proper conduct of a prince as military leader, Chapters 15-23 discuss the character and behavior of the prince, and Chapters 24-26 discuss Italy’s desperate political situation.

The final chapter is a plea for the Medici family to supply the prince who will lead Italy out of humiliation.

the prince
the prince

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About the Author

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, occasionally rendered in English as Nicholas Machiavel, was an Italian diplomat, author, philosopher and historian who lived during the Renaissance. He is best known for his political treatise The Prince, written in about 1513 but not published until 1532.

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