Why did Machiavelli Write the Prince?
“Men must either be caressed or else annihilated; they will revenge themselves for small injuries, but cannot do so for great ones; the injury therefore that we do to a man must be such that we need not fear his vengeance.”
Niccolo Machiavelli: Introduction and a Brief Timeline
Birth and Initial Bearings
Niccolo Machiavelli was born on the 5th of May 1469 in Florence. Since he was a child, he experienced chaotic times as the governments were falling within a matter of weeks; powerful economies being surrendered to other countries and popes heading the army. The Prince shares its origin with these ideals.
Machiavelli was a supporter of the public on the grounds that citizens are the ones who have no concerns with political gains and don’t choose wealth and status over peace and harmony.
The Philosopher’s Touch
Niccolo Machiavelli was a philosopher too and probably this was one of the reasons why he kept a deep eye on the ongoing politics. When he reached the age of twenty nine, he became an official member of the government and studied the domestic politics and foreign affairs much closely.
When Machiavelli was enjoying his understanding of government mechanics and learning from foreign politicians, one of the old rulers, Medici took over Florence again. Machiavelli was against the policies and practice laid down by Medici and therefore, sentenced to jail for a couple of years in the name of dis-obedience.
Emancipation from Florence
Later, he was forced to leave Florence and settle in a small town. This is where Machiavelli thought of writing all his knowledge of politics in the form of a book captioned: The Prince.
The Prince: A Political Epic and Statesman’s Guide
The Prince is basically a guidebook for new leaders and rulers. Machiavelli stresses that those new in the government must make efforts to earn the support of the common people because in it lays the foundation to success.
In addition, the subjects need to be treated with honesty and respect. He is strictly against those rulers who make the unethical use of their power and lose glory.
Machiavelli has very clearly explained various types of governments and the kind of rules designed for each type; he holds the standpoint that the policies made by one government may not be applicable to the other however, one thing that must remain common is: The welfare of the citizens. Examples of good and bad governments make the book easy to grasp.
Unfortunately, majority of the rulers rebuffed the intellectual discourse of Machiavelli and expressed sheer discontentment towards it. The Prince appeared as a published piece on politics in the year 1532, five years after Niccolo Machiavelli had passed away.