Often cited as one of the first works in modern political philosophy, The Prince is a political treatise that relates author Niccolo Machiavelli's theories on state-building and rulership. Drawing on his experience as a diplomat, Machiavelli discusses the important policies for both republican free-states and hereditary princedoms, and outlines the most successful political tactics, many of which remain relevant into modern times.
Controversial at the time of its writing in 1513, The Prince was not officially printed until 1532, almost two decades later and five years after Niccolo Machiavelli's death. At the time, the ideas put forth in the treatise directly conflicted with dominant religious doctrines, and negative connotations surrounding the term "Machiavellian" continue to endure. Nonetheless, The Prince has influenced rulers including King Henry VIII and Catherine de Medici, and political philosophers such as Francis Bacon and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and has become one of the most widely read works of political philosophy in history.
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Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian politician, diplomat, founding father of political science, and author of the preeminent political treatise, The Prince. Born in Florence, Italy, Machiavelli held many government posts over his lifetime and often took leading roles in important diplomatic missions. During his time visiting other countries and nation states, Machiavelli was exposed to the politics of figures like Ceasare Borgia and King Louis XII, experiences which would inform his writings on state-building and politics. Machiavelli's political career came to an abrupt end when the Medici overthrew Florence, and he was held as a prisoner under the new regime. Tortured for a short time, he was released without admitting to any crime or treason. At this point, Machiavelli retired and turned to intellectual and philosophical pursuits, producing his two major works, The Prince and Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy. He died in 1527 at the age of 58.