The Prince - WikipediaThe 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 book's 26 chapters can be divided into four sections: Chapters discuss the different types of principalities or states, Chapters discuss the different types of armies and the proper conduct of a prince as military leader, Chapters discuss the character and behavior of the prince, and Chapters discuss Italy's desperate political situation.
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In his own time, Machiavelli was known as the author of histories, poems, and plays including a widely produced popular comedy. Highly respected as a statesman, he represented Florence on foreign missions and wrote reports admired for their style and substance. But the Catholic Church censured Machiavelli for his criticism of Christianity and for the tone and content of the political counsel he offered, especially in The Prince. By the seventeenth century, the name Machiavelli had become synonymous with diabolical cunning, a meaning that it still carries today. Modern readers exhibit the same ambivalence about Machiavelli himself, alternately recognizing him as a precursor of the discipline of political science and recoiling from the ruthless principles he frequently articulates.
From his correspondence, a version appears to have been distributed in , using a Latin title, De Principatibus Of Principalities. This was carried out with the permission of the Medici pope Clement VII , but "long before then, in fact since the first appearance of The Prince in manuscript, controversy had swirled about his writings".
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