9780140400144 / 0140400141

The Discourses (Pelican Classics, Ac14)


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Publisher:Penguin Books, 1971



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About the book:

These are Machiavelli's essays on the lessons to be learned from Titus Livy's first ten books about Roman history. Though other works existed, Machiavelli chose Livy's histories because Livy was an eye witness to the fall of the Roman Republic. Machiavelli's purpose for writing The Discourses can be summed up in one line: "The multitude is wiser and more constant than a prince." More to-the-point, however is the later phraise: "A corrupt and disorderly multitude can be spoken to by some worthy person and can easily be brought around to the right way, but a bad prince cannot be spoken to by anyone, and the only remedy for his case is COLD STEEL." With every stroke of his pen, Machiavelli sets out to prove the superiority of a republican form of government. He values freedom of the citizenry above all else, and provides princes everywhere with grizzly tales of what happens when it is restricted. His influence on the Founding Fathers, and particularly on the works of Paine and Jefferson, is evident. Our current leaders would find themselves more secure if they stuck to Machiavelli's principles.

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