He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, poetry, and some of the best-known personal correspondence in the Italian language.
In his best known book, The Prince, he describes the way that a Prince (by which Machiavelli means a ruler) can control the people he rules. He looks especially at what he calls the "new prince", saying that a prince from a royal family has an easier job because the people are used to his family and the way of life. All that such a hereditary prince needs to do is carefully stick to the traditional ways of working that the people are used to. A new prince has a much more difficult job because he must get people used to his new power and build up new ways of working that people can get used to. This job means that the new prince has to act in a way people would not quickly criticize, but Machiavelli says this may mean doing bad but necessary things which people do not see or remember. Otherwise a new prince will find it difficult to get anything important done, or even to keep ruling.
- The Discourses on Livy online 1772 edition
- The Seven Books on the Art of War online 1772 edition
- History of Florence online 1901 edition
- Reform of Florence online 1772 edition
- The Private Correspondence of Niccolò Machiavelli, ed. Orestes Ferrara; 1929. online edition
- Machiavelli, Niccolò (1985), Comedies of Machiavelli, University Press of New England Bilingual edition of The Woman from Andros, The Mandrake, and Clizia, edited by David Sices and James B. Atkinson.
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