Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence on May 3, 1469. While working as a clerk in the government, he gained stature when the Florentine Republic was established in 1498. Machiavelli supervised the military operations of the republic. He also was the secretary of the ten-man council that conducted the diplomatic negotiations. During his tenor in the government, Machiavelli became acquainted with many of the Italian rulers and their political tactics. From 1503 to 1506, Machiavelli reorganized the military defense of the republic of Florence.
The Medici family took control of the republic in 1512, and Machiavelli was arrested for conspiring against them after more than a decade of public service. After his release, he retired to his estate near Florence where he wrote many of his political writings. In 1513, Machiavelli wrote The Prince in hopes of securing the favor of the Medici family. It is a guide to the exercise of raw political power over a renaissance principality. Allowing for the unpredictable influence of fortune, Machiavelli argued that it is primarily the skill of the individual leader that determines the success of a state.
The Prince establishes means of acquiring and maintaining the principality and evaluates each of them by looking to its likelihood of expanding the prominence of the prince. This focus on practical success by all means, even at the expense of traditional values, earned Machiavelli a reputation of deception and cruelty. Machiavelli s writing forever changed political views. His ideas of doing anything no matter how extreme for a ruler s state where new but are still used today by some. He was the first to rationally examine the ways to control politics. Machiavelli believes that a ruler should have his state s concern his foremost priority.
The state is founded on the power of its military. Therefore, a strong military is vital to maintaining the state. Machiavelli believes tha men respect power but will take advantage of kindness. He believes that when given the opportunity one must destroy completely, because if one does not then he will be destroyed. The ruler should lead the military, and he has to be intelligent. An effective politician can make quick and intelligent choices about the problems that constantly surround him.
A ruler cannot be uncertain, because uncertainty is a sign of weakness. Machiavelli believes the ruler of a state should be the sole authority determining every aspect of the state and put in effect a policy that would serve his best interests. These interests were gaining, maintaining, and expanding his political power. The ruler must take advantage of situations based solely on if it is best for the state. He should choose his decisions based on contemporary and historical examples. A ruler of a state cannot consider whether his acts are moral or immoral, but he instead must act in an unbiased manner for the state.
Also, it does not matter how the state achieves its goals, as long as these goals are achieved. Machiavelli was recognized as the first person to write about these harsh political views in which he truly believed. His ideas influenced many people in history. Although many of his writings were not published until after his death, they will forever be a key source of political ideas.