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Niccolo Machiavelli: An Unfair Reputation. Essay

928 words - 4 pages

Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian author and statesman, one of the outstanding figures of the Renaissance and by far the most controversial political thinker. However, his political genius was overshadowed by the reputation that was unfairly given to him because of a misunderstanding of his views on politics. Machiavelli dedicated his complete life to uniting Italy and making Florence it's dominate force; as a child, he observed key political figures from afar. Then he served over a decade in government public service, and after being forced from his job he wrote many books on political theory. By studying his youth, government status, and literature one can better understand the controversy of Niccolo Machiavelli.Niccolo Machiavelli was born May 3rd 1469 in Florence, Italy, to Bernardo di Niccolo di Buoninsegna and Bartolomea da Nelli. His father, Bernardo, belonged to an impoverished branch of an influential, old Florentine family. Bernardo was a lawyer and had a small library which included books by Greek and Roman philosophers and volumes of Italian history. This Library is where Machiavelli molded many of his beliefs. He described his life once, "I was born in poverty and at an early age learned how to endure hardship rather than florist." At this point in his life the political scene was chaos, and Girolamo Savonarola was the key political figure in this Savonarolist government. It is believed that Machiavelli has some involvement in executing Savonarola and overthrowing this government.Shortly after Savonarola's execution Machiavelli was appointed head of the new governments Second Chancery and secretary concerned with warfare and diplomacy. His position quickly rose, however, and he was engaging on diplomatic missions. He met many important people such as, the Pope and the King of France, however, the person that impressed him the most was the Prince of the Papal States, Cesare Borgia. Borgia was a cunning and cruel man; he was an able ruler, who was ruthless and treacherous in war but a patron of artist. Machiavelli did not actually like Borgia's policies, but thought a ruler like Borgia could help the Florentines unite Italy. Borgia introduced Machiavelli to power politics, so as defense secretary Machiavelli substituted a citizens' militia for the prevailing mercenary system. Machiavelli's beliefs were; the greatest army is commitment from a Prince's own citizens. Money is not enough motivation for a mercenary to fight and risk dieing for a Prince who is not his own. Machiavelli once said' "It is much safer for a prince to be feared than loved, if he is to fail in one of the two."In 1507, the Florentine republic collapsed once again and shortly there after there after the Medici family returned to power. Lorenzo de' Medici fired Machiavelli...

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