Niccolò Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy in 1469 and held important posts until his death in 1527. He was a keen observer of the errors and personal character of the rulers he served. He synthesized his vast experience and observation of rulers, nobles, political systems and statecraft in his magnum opus, The Prince.
Machiavellian in modern times has acquired a pejorative meaning – a sinister connotation that was unknown to his peers. However, a careful reading of this book leads to more reasonable and affirmative interpretation.
The theme of Machiavelli’s The Prince and this updated essay, The New Princes by Richard E. Friedman, is the relationship of the rulers and the ruled. Machiavelli’s observations and conclusions regarding mankind’s motivations and weaknesses tend to be negative, rather than what we would prefer them to be. The Prince provides great principles for the guidance of rulers and their relationship with the people, nobles, parliaments, and with the rulers of other states.
Politics is the instrument to achieve government; politics is not the instrument to achieve more politics. The objective of The New Princes is to counter the drift of politics that is leading the state into the commode. The following text is derived, in large part, from the marvelous insights to be found in Machiavelli’s original, with liberties taken to assist contemporary readers, and organization for rhetorical flow. The purpose of this essay is to make the nation a bit better by a thought-provoking handbook for common cause and positive political action.
If you are motivated more by pragmatism than idealism; if you seek to correct a major wrong; if you seek to communicate with other like-minded pragmatists through use of social network technology, and explore social action among your peers that was impossible only a few years ago, there is a useful intellectual basis for your involvement. Please consider reading the full text of my essay, The New Princes.