Posts Tagged ‘ Machiavelli ’

14. Machiavelli’s ‘Of the Civic Principality’

The next text is an excerpt from The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. He is the best kind of writer for the student of philosophy because his aim throughout is always clarity rather than style. ‘The Prince’ was written for a prince, in the hope that it would secure its author gainful employment as an adviser. It is possibly the longest cover letter in support of a job application in history. Rhetoric and obfuscation never aid the purpose of such a project, and Machiavelli will have known that his reader would have had little patience for complex ideas.

Instead, what Machiavelli does is offer a guide to successful political strategy by means of case history, simple abstraction and logical analysis. His work has stood the test of time, and – if one substitutes for ‘prince’ the notion of ‘president’ or ‘prime minister’ and ‘nobles’ with the plethora of other interested parties who currently wield political power – his advice has as much application today as it did in sixteenth century Italy.

Make notes in the usual way, identifying the main point of each paragraph and writing a 50 word summary (paragraph main ideas are given in the answer key).

Go to the excerpt or continue reading

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