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The PLEA: The Mind of Machiavelli

The PLEA: The Mind of Machiavelli

Introduction

The word “Machiavellian” brings deception, cunning behaviour, and bad faith to mind. This is because of Niccolò Machiavelli, and specifically his 16th-century book The Prince. The Prince shocked the ruling establishment with its dark exploration of political leadership. Lesser-known but equally important is Machiavelli’s book The Discourses. The Discourses analysed how government could be ideally structured. Together, these books have become foundational to the study of modern government.

So who was Niccolò Machiavelli? What drove his unorthodox thoughts? And why are his works still relevant today? This issue of The PLEA explores these questions. It considers:

  • how Machiavelli’s life shaped his theories,
  • the Florence of Machiavelli’s time,
  • the ideal structure of government spelled out in The Discourses, and
  • the cynical theory of leadership spelled out in The Prince.

Ideal for most any reader, The Mind of Machiavelli fulfills several requirements across Saskatchewan’s social science curricula. It will also be of interest to people curious about the history of western governance and law-making processes.

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Statue of Niccolò Machiavelli outside the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

Just who was Machiavelli?