Classic Works

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (1532)

I. New Modes and Orders

Few, if any, works of political philosophy have been more important for grand strategy and diplomacy than The Prince. Written by the Florentine philosopher and statesman, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), The Prince, along with Machiavelli’s other major work, Discourses on Livy, brought about a transformation in political theory and political practice. Indeed, in composing The Prince and Discourses, Machiavelli founded modern political philosophy, which is also to say he intended to overthrow classical and medieval political philosophy.

Fully intending to have such a revolutionary effect, Machiavelli announces in the preface to Book I of the Discourses that he has discovered “new modes and orders” and taken “a path as yet untrodden by anyone” (emphasis added) (5).[1] In Chapter XV of The Prince, he indicates that his novelty consists specifically in going “directly to the effectual truth of the thing [rather] than to the imagination of it” (61).[2] Unlike the classics who focus their attention on an admittedly unattainable best regime, or their Christian successors who set their sights on the otherworldly city of God, Machiavelli, in going directly to the effectual truth, concerns himself with politics as it is actually practiced in the world, in this world.

Of course Machiavelli’s classical and medieval predecessors would quarrel with the suggestion that their procedure obscures political life as it is experienced by human beings. But Machiavelli promises not merely to better understand but also to better affect politics. Indeed, he suggests that it is this latter, practical intention that has led him to break with the tradition when he observes, “it is so far from how one lives to how one should live that he who lets go of what is done for what should be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation” (61). To this charge of failing to give the best practical advice to political men, the classical and medieval political philosophers are more open, perhaps even by their own admission. Without going so far as to claim that the classics and medievals would have regarded Machiavelli’s practical guidance as superior to their own, we can safely observe that affecting politics was less important for them than it was for Machiavelli or any subsequent political philosopher.

To be concerned with the effectual truth is not simply to be concerned with the real as opposed to the ideal but also to be concerned with affecting the real with changing reality. Here we see the paradoxical combination of realism, on the one hand, and hopefulness, on the other hand, at the core of Machiavelli’s thought and of modern political philosophy more generally. For our purposes, it suffices to observe, without saying anything yet about the content of his strategic guidance, that Machiavelli gives far greater weight to imparting good strategic guidance to statesmen than any of the political philosophers who preceded him.[3]


II. The Literary Character of The Prince

The literary form of The Prince suggests, at first glance, that its author’s ambitions are less grand than we have just contended. Strictly speaking, The Prince is a long letter written and dedicated to Lorenzo de’ Medici, the grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent and the ruler of Florence, containing Machiavelli’s “knowledge of the actions of great men learned…from long experience with modern things and a continuous reading of ancient ones” (3). He gives the impression that his intention, in discussing and giving “rules for the government of princes,” amounts merely to assisting Lorenzo in achieving greatness (4). Judged by this intention, The Prince must be counted as a failure. For Lorenzo never really distinguished himself as much of a prince. But Machiavelli’s decision to have The Prince published posthumously (1532) reveals that neither aiding Lorenzo nor being rewarded for having done so constitutes his only or even primary intention in writing it. The Prince is an open letter, containing guidance for anyone who might read it. As Machiavelli indicates in a letter to his friend Francesco Vettori, he expects that this guidance will be “[welcome] especially to a new prince,” that is, a prince who accedes to office not by an established order of succession but rather by fortune or his own virtue. As we shall see, encouraging the ambition of princes and would-be princes, especially their ambition to win glory, and teaching them how to achieve their ambition are two of Machiavelli’s major objectives in The Prince. By opening The Prince with a dedicatory letter that in a certain way obscures these objectives, Machiavelli subtly turns his intention into a question and puts his readers on alert to the deceptive, ambiguous style in which The Prince is composed.


III. New Princes

That Machiavelli has especially new princes in mind can be seen in the speed with which he turns from considering hereditary principalities to new principalities in the opening chapters of The Prince. But before considering the reasons behind Machiavelli’s interest in new princes, it is important to note the significance of this dichotomy. After briefly acknowledging the republican alternative to princely government—an alternative that Machiavelli treats in the Discourses—he divides principalities into hereditary principalities and new principalities and then subdivides the latter into mixed principalities, regimes to which hereditary princes add territory by conquest, and altogether new principalities, regimes in which the prince rises to power without any hereditary claim to rule. Thus Machiavelli replaces the question of whether a regime promotes the common good with the question of how a regime is acquired as the decisive consideration in political science. Machiavelli is concerned far less with the ends of political power than with the means to political power, than Aristotle and his successors had been. It follows that new princes, who do not acquire political power by default as hereditary princes do, are of particular interest to political science. All of this suggests that the truth about politics comes to sight most clearly in times of disorder and instability. Put differently, the order and stability of hereditary principalities, far from being normal, obscures the true character of political life.

In Chapters III through XI, Machiavelli discourses on how to acquire and maintain new principalities. In addition to shedding light on the truth about politics, Machiavelli here gives guidance on how to conquer and hold territory and on how to seize and keep political power for oneself. And he offers this advice to anyone who will read it, no matter his motivation. Far from condemning coup or conquest, Machiavelli observes, “truly it is a very natural and ordinary thing to desire to acquire, and always, when men do it who can, they will be praised or not blamed; but when they cannot and wish to do it anyway, here lie the error and the blame” (14-15). Men cannot reasonably be condemned for their acquisitiveness. For human nature is such that men cannot help but be acquisitive. This fact is obscured in hereditary principalities, in which the prince is sufficiently powerful that men cannot act on their natural acquisitiveness, but vivid in new principalities.


IV. Teacher of Empire

It would be unreasonable, not to say unjust, to condemn princes in their pursuit of power domestically or internationally. Accordingly, Machiavelli, by contrast with his classical and medieval predecessors, not only refrains from objecting to but actively encourages imperialism. In Chapter III, he explains why Louis XII failed in his two attempts to conquer Italy and, in so doing, gives princes a tutorial in empire-building. (That this tutorial would be especially useful to other kings of France with designs on Italy casts doubt on Machiavelli’s self-presentation as an Italian patriot.) The basic challenge facing all conquerors is twofold. The people one has conquered and seeks to rule are offended by and therefore resist the rule of the conqueror. At the same time, the inhabitants who supported the conqueror initially will almost certainly have their hopes disappointed by the new regime and are therefore likely to turn against the new prince. These challenges are less grave when the conquered territory shares a language and customs with the conquering principality. In such cases, it suffices to eliminate the bloodline of the native prince without antagonizing the conquered people by changing their taxes or laws. Before long, the conquered territory will be absorbed into the conqueror’s state.

The challenge of conquering lands with alien languages and customs is greater. In order to succeed, one needs “great fortune and great industry” (9). But as is typical, Machiavelli does not counsel resignation or moderation but rather offers five general guidelines for meeting the challenge, the spirit of which is to assure that one is and remains the most powerful force in the territory. First, one must prevent foreign powers from getting involved. Second, one must either live in or, what is even better, colonize the conquered territory. Third, one must put down the powerful there. Fourth, one must ally with neighboring lesser powers. And finally one must always look to the future and emerging threats.

In Chapters IV and V, Machiavelli indicates that the challenge of conquering and holding territories will vary according to the character of the regimes in those territories. Empires, such as Persia and Turkey, while difficult to acquire, are relatively easy to maintain. Once one has eliminated the emperor, the people are easy to rule as they are accustomed to submission. Kingdoms with intermediate aristocratic powers, such as France, and republics, while easier to acquire than empires, are more difficult to maintain, as the nobles in the former and the people in the latter, are not so submissive. One must be much harsher in such regimes than in empires, eliminating the aristocratic bloodlines in the former and destroying the tradition of freedom and dispersing the people in the latter.

Machiavelli does not insist upon any moral restrictions in maintaining conquered territory. At the same time, he counsels against unnecessary cruelty. Indeed, it is in this context that he offers the famous or infamous dictum “that men should either be caressed or eliminated, because they avenge themselves for slight offenses but cannot do so for grave ones” (10). Thus, Machiavelli urges an imperialism that is as harsh or as gentle toward one’s new subjects as well as to other countries as is necessary in order to maintain one’s conquests. The key, nay, the only consideration for the prince is the acquisition and maintenance of power.


V. Machiavelli’s Virtue

In encouraging unrestricted imperialism, Machiavelli breaks with both the classical and medieval prescriptions for foreign policy. Indeed, he subtly points to his break with medieval Christianity in Chapter III in observing that the pagan Romans adhered to the rules of conquest better than his Christian contemporaries and blaming Louis XII’s failure to conquer Italy in large part on his desire to keep faith and avoid war with the pope. Machiavelli’s disagreement with the classics and medievals is derivative of a more profound disagreement concerning the ends of politics and of man, which we must consider in order to understand the foundation of Machiavelli’s strategic guidance. The classics and the medievals regard the acquisitiveness that Machiavelli promotes as a moral vice. And inasmuch they hold that moral virtue is essential to human happiness and that the promotion of moral virtue for the sake of human happiness is the proper end of politics, they would disapprove of Machiavelli’s liberation of acquisitiveness. The classics and the medievals understand that the desire to acquire security, wealth, power, and honor is deeply rooted in human nature, but think that human beings long ultimately to transcend those goods. These goods are to be counted as good insofar as they enable human beings to be virtuous. While neither the classics nor the medievals think that moral virtue is sufficient for human happiness—the former hold that moral virtue points beyond itself to philosophy and the latter to piety—they hold that, in political life, moral virtue is properly to be regarded as an end in itself.

From this vantage point, imperialism appears dubious. While the classics countenance harsh measures in foreign policy, including conquest of and fomenting civil war in other cities, they do so not for the sake of empire or glory but rather to preserve the city’s freedom and its way of life. As Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus shows, imperialism is at odds with the sort of morally serious, aristocratic republic favored by the classics. So, while they would concur with Machiavelli’s insistence that a city’s foreign policy be determined solely according to its own good, they conceive of the city’s good in such a way as to favor, in principle, defensive isolationism over imperialism. Yet to hold that politics at its peak is in tension with imperialism is not to deny that cities must, under some circumstances, follow an imperial course. The practical lesson of the classics, then, is not always to avoid imperialism, but rather to recognize that, when cities are compelled by necessity to become empires, the possibilities of domestic political life will tend to diminish. Machiavelli revises this lesson insofar as he insists that necessity almost always dictates imperialism and insofar as he denies that this necessity poses any kind of limit to our highest political aspirations. Machiavellian imperialism is even more opposed to the medieval Christian outlook according to which war is legitimate only for the sake of retribution for injustice. Insofar as all men are to be regarded as God’s children and therefore deserving of love, states are morally obliged to seek peace with one another in most cases.

Machiavelli evidently doubts that human beings long to transcend the mundane concerns of political life whether for the sake of moral virtue, philosophy, or piety. Accordingly, he proposes a new conception of virtue as the shrewd pursuit of security, wealth, power, and glory. Winning glory becomes the peak of political life, if not human life altogether. Far from being an end in itself, Machiavellian virtue is a means to these goods. Whether a quality counts as a virtue depends entirely on whether it yields success. This means that what the classics, medievals, or the ordinary moral man for that matter would condemn as a vice might, under certain circumstances, be a virtue. For example, Machiavelli argues that well-used cruelty, that is, cruelty “done at a stroke, out of the necessity to secure oneself, and…not persisted in but…turned to as much utility for the subjects as one can,” is virtuous (37-38). He goes so far as to contend that princes who are unafraid to have a reputation for cruelty will, for the most part, be more merciful in practice than those who are so afraid. For the former will not fear to take the harsh steps necessary for establishing and maintaining order, which is a good enjoyed not only by the prince but also by the people (65-66).

This example points to the humane intention guiding Machiavelli’s reconception of virtue. In counseling princes, he aims to benefit not only or even primarily the ambitious few but also the people. According to Machiavelli, a common good obtains between the prince and the people in most cases. The people, unlike “the great” who desire to rule, desire merely not to be oppressed. For this reason, Machiavelli advises princes to build their power on the people rather than the great (38-42). The prince can achieve his highest goal of winning glory by satisfying the people’s desires for freedom and security. As his high praise for the virtue of Severus, a Roman emperor who oppressed the people, shows, Machiavelli’s cultivation of virtuous princes will not always redound to the people’s good, it will, Machiavelli believes, generally yield more humane results.

Thus, it is paradoxically in a spirit of humanity that Machiavelli criticizes classical political philosophy and the Bible for obscuring the harsh necessities of politics. This is what he is up to on the deepest level in the two chapters (XIII and XIV) immediately preceding the one in which he explicitly breaks with those traditions and presents his new conception of virtue. In Chapter XIII, he argues for his famous and oft-repeated maxim: Rely on your own arms. He identifies the tyrant Hiero of Syracuse and David as exemplary followers of this maxim. But Machiavelli conspicuously misrepresents the details and spirit of the story of David’s defeat of Goliath in the Bible. He reports that David chose to fight Goliath with his sling and knife and refrained from accepting Saul’s arms, omitting the crucial point that David refused Saul’s arms not because he relied on himself but because he relied on God. In truth, then, Machiavelli is challenging the Biblical story. One sees that he is also implicitly challenging the Biblical account of Moses’s political success when one recalls that he compared Hiero to Moses in Chapter VI (25). Like Hiero, Moses rose to and held onto power by relying on himself and not refraining from the use of cruelty. The Bible, Machiavelli suggests, falsifies political history in such a way as to encourage reliance on divine providence, which, in Machiavelli’s view, is not forthcoming, rather than on oneself.

In the next chapter, Machiavelli urges princes constantly to prepare for war in thought and in action. He suggests that, to this end, they ought to study classical histories. But he implicitly indicates that the Roman general Scipio learned the wrong lessons from Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus. He notes that Scipio conformed “in chastity, affability, humanity, and liberality…to what had been written of Cyrus by Xenophon” (60). Only later, in Chapter XVII, does Machiavelli reveal that these virtues turned out to be vices for Scipio as his “excessive mercy” led his armies to rebel against him (68). Just as the Bible does in the case of Moses, Xenophon obscures the similarity between Cyrus and cruel tyrants such as Hiero and thereby leads his princely readers to ruin. As Machiavelli proceeds to argue in the next chapter, it is necessary to turn away from the ideal in favor of the real, to go directly to “the effectual truth” (61). Thus Machiavelli promises to be a better guide than classical or medieval political philosophy.


VI. Foreign Policy and Domestic Policy

Machiavelli’s political science stands apart from the classical alternative in its emphasis on foreign policy. As his admonition to prepare constantly for war suggests, Machiavelli holds that the basic imperative of security requires that princes focus primarily on external rather than internal affairs. The classical emphasis on the latter presupposes highly fortuitous circumstances in which the city is generally unthreatened. The spirit of Machiavelli’s political science, with its call to master fortune, militates against princes taking any such circumstances for granted.

What is more, Machiavelli calls into question the sharp distinction between domestic policy and foreign policy. For one thing, domestic politics is not so different in character from international relations. Individuals, just like states, find themselves in fierce competition for scarce goods—for security, wealth, power, and glory. To this extent, one learns the truth about domestic politics from studying international relations. For another thing, Machiavelli insists that good foreign policy is good domestic policy. Imperial acquisition, for example, allows princes to be liberal and, what is more important, thereby gain a reputation for liberality without excessively taxing their own peoples (64). Thus a policy of imperialism goes along with or even stems from the domestic strategy of building one’s power on the people. Here we run into a limit of the humanity of Machiavelli’s political science. While he holds out the possibility of a common good between an ambitious prince and his own people, he does not anticipate such a good arising among states, with the exception of ultimately transitory alliances. The implication of Machiavelli’s counsel constantly to prepare for war makes clear that the hope or pursuit of lasting peace among nations is foolhardy. Man’s acquisitive nature is such as to make war inevitable.

Not only does Machiavelli refrain from discouraging war, he also refrains from insisting upon any moral limitations on the conduct of war. He encourages princes to be as aggressive and harsh in managing foreign affairs as is necessary not only for the good of their states but also for their own individual good. The only limit comes from prudence. Let us not, however, allow our understandable and decent moral abhorrence to blind us to the way in which Machiavellian prudence can serve to limit the brutality of international relations. In removing moral considerations from the conduct of foreign policy, Machiavelli leaves no room for wars of retribution. His insistence that princes hew closely to their own interests has the effect of discouraging fruitless moral crusades or fits of vengeance. Here again we see a humane intention in Machiavelli’s amoral, not to say immoral, foreign policy outlook.


VII. A Machiavellian World Order

Machiavelli’s encouragement of imperialism in The Prince and his apparently whole-hearted praise of Rome in the Discourses may give the false impression that he hopes for a new world order headed by a new Roman empire. But, with respect to the Discourses, Machiavelli ultimately indicates that Rome was too successful for its own or anyone’s good. The Roman republic’s imperial triumph led to the loss of freedom and virtue at home as well as abroad. Given this, Machiavelli suggests that his introduction of new modes and orders will bring about many Romes contending against one another for dominion. Indeed, in making his guidance available to all the ambitious who will read it, Machiavelli  points us toward a highly dynamic world full of principalities and republics competing against one another for security, wealth, power, and glory. For these are the goods that man truly longs for. And it is in such competition that man truly flourishes.


VIII. Machiavelli’s Realism

We would be remiss to conclude this essay without saying a word about Machiavelli’s place in the “realist” school of international relations theorists. Machiavelli is rightly regarded as the founder of modern realism. The early modern political philosophers, from Hobbes, Spinoza, and Locke to Montesquieu, all follow Machiavelli’s call to turn from the ideal to the real in Chapter XV of The Prince, seeking a lower but, for that reason, more solid foundation for politics, internally and externally. The paradox of their realism consists in their hopefulness about what could be achieved by such a reconceived political theory. This distinguishes them from the great classical realist Thucydides who evinces no such ambition to change political life. Even though Thucydides, like Machiavelli and his successors, looks to actual political life and the speeches and deeds of actual statesman rather than an unattainable best regime, he shares the spirit of resignation to the limits of political life animating the classical idealists. Thucydides’ teaching casts doubt on the realism of attempting to turn men away from the ideal. His portrait of Athens vacillating between harsh Machiavellianism and guilt-ridden piety and moralism suggests that the love of justice is deeply rooted in human nature and that it would therefore be unrealistic and unwise to seek to excise morality from politics entirely.

At the same time, Machiavelli’s realism is closer to Thucydides’ than that of his immediate successors and, certainly, contemporary realism. For one thing, he is under no illusion that a world in which nations shrewdly pursue their interests will ever be at peace. This is partially because Machiavelli, unlike realists narrowly focused on material interests, gives full weight to the motivating force of honor and glory in international relations. And, of course, these goods will always be scarce and therefore always serve as a cause of violent conflict. Whereas this led Hobbes and his successors to attempt to turn men away from the love of honor and glory, Machiavelli, who would regard this effort as futile and perhaps even degrading, urges men to pursue that love as their highest love. What is more, Machiavelli recognizes that moral considerations can have some weight in the conduct of foreign affairs even as he tries to lessen that weight. If moral virtue has no hold on men’s hearts, then it would be superfluous to combat morality with an alternative conception of virtue. This may be the most important respect in which Machiavelli differs from the realist social scientists of today. His realism still has a guiding vision of human flourishing, albeit an amoral one, which would in many quarters today be dismissed as normative and unscientific. Of course, one could argue that the conception of science underlying this dismissal is the culmination of the revolution in philosophy instigated by Machiavelli himself.


[1] Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). Return to text

[2] Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998). Return to text

[3] The understanding of Machiavelli’s intention that we have briefly sketched out in this introduction and that guides the proceeding account of Machiavelli’s thought is by no means universally shared. Indeed, the character of Machiavelli’s intention is a matter of great scholarly controversy. The account of Machiavelli presented here follows the interpretations of Leo Strauss and his students. There are other interpretations which deny that Machiavelli was a philosopher or that he was a critic of classical political philosophy and Christianity. The major alternative to Strauss’s interpretation, advanced by scholars in the “Cambridge school” of intellectual history, such as J.G.A. Pocock, Quentin Skinner, and Maurizio Viroli, sees Machiavelli as an important figure in the tradition of civic republicanism, emphasizing Italian patriotism and a dedication to republicanism among his motives. While it is beyond the scope of this essay to respond to this and other scholarly interpretations of Machiavelli, our bibliography includes the most important works on Machiavelli from multiple perspectives. That said, we conclude that a plain reading of The Prince’s teachings about strategy points in the direction we have presented here:  the princely search for glory; the imperative to acquire and conquer (unlimited imperialism); the rule of foreign peoples in a fashion, whether harsh or gentle, guided by what best maintains power, not by traditional morality; the constant preparation for war and the need to rely on one’s own arms; and the primary focus on external rather than internal affairs.  Return to text


For Further Reading

Recommended Translations of Machiavelli’s Major Political Works:

Machiavelli, Niccolò. Art of War. Translated by Christopher Lynch. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

———. Discourses on Livy. Translated by Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

———. Florentine Histories. Translated by Laura F. Banfield and Harvey C. Mansfield. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990.

———. The Prince. Translated by Harvey C. Mansfield. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Selected Secondary Works on Machiavelli:

Allen, William B. “Machiavelli and Modernity.” In The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, 101-113. Translated by Angelo M. Codevilla. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

Anton, Michael. “Of Conquest: An Interpretation of Chapters 3-5 of Machiavelli’s ‘Prince’.” Perspectives on Political Science 38, no. 1 (2009): 33-46, doi.10.3200/PPSC.38.1.33-46.

Baron, Hans. The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966.

———.  “Machiavelli: The Republican Citizen and the Author of The Prince.” English Historical Review 76 (1961): 217-53.

Benner, Erica. Machiavelli’s Ethics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

Berlin, Isaiah. “The Originality of Machiavelli.” In Against the Current, 25-79. New York: Viking Press, 1980.

Burckhardt, Jacob. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. New York: Penguin, 1990.

Codevilla, Angelo M. “Words and Power.” In The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, xix-xxxviii. Translated by Angelo M. Codevilla. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

Gilbert, Felix. “Machiavelli: The Renaissance of the Art of War.” Chap. 2 in Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, 11-31. Edited by Peter Paret. Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 1986.

Hörnqvist, Mikael. Machiavelli and Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Hulliung, Mark. Citizen Machiavelli. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Lefort, Claude. Machiavelli in the Making. Translated by Michael B. Smith. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2012.

Lord, Carnes. “Machiavelli’s Realism.” In The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, 114- 23. Translated by Angelo M. Codevilla. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

Lynch, Christopher. “Interpretive Essay.” In Art of War by Niccolò Machiavelli, 179-226. Translated by Christopher Lynch. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

———. “The ordine nuovo of Machiavelli’s ‘Arte della Guerra’: Reforming Ancient Matter.” History of Political Thought 31, no. 3 (2010): 407-25.

Manent, Pierre. “Machiavelli and the Fecundity of Evil.” Chap. 2 in An Intellectual History of Liberalism. Translated by Rebecca Balinski. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Mansfield, Harvey C. Introduction to The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, vii-xxiv. Translated by Harvey C. Mansfield. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

———. “Machiavelli and the Modern Executive.” Chap. 6 in Taming the Prince. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.

———. Machiavelli’s New Modes and Orders: A Study of the Discourses on Livy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

———. Machiavelli’s Virtue. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1996.

Newell, W. R. “How Original Is Machiavelli?” Political Theory 15 (1987): 612-34.

———. “Machiavelli and Xenophon on Princely Rule: A Double-Edged Encounter.” The Journal of Politics 50, no. 1 (February 1988): 108-130.

Pangle, Thomas L., and Peter J. Ahrensdorf. “Machiavelli and His Successors.” In Justice among Nations: On the Moral Basis of Power and Peace, 125-44. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1999.

Pocock, J.G.A. The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Skinner, Quentin. The Foundations of Modern Political Thought. vol. 1, The Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.

———. Machiavelli. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

———. Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Strauss, Leo. “Machiavelli and Classical Literature.” Review of National Literatures 1 (1970): 7-25.

———.  “Niccolò Machiavelli.” In History of Political Philosophy, 296-317. Edited by Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

———. Thoughts on Machiavelli. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958.

Sullivan, Vickie B. Machiavelli’s Three Romes: Religion, Human Liberty, and Politics Reformed. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1996.

Tarcov, Nathan. “Quentin Skinner’s Method and Machiavelli’s Prince.” Ethics 92 (1982): 692-709.

Viroli, Maurizio. How to Read Machiavelli. London: Granta, 2008.

———. Machiavelli’s God. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.

———. Redeeming The Prince: The Meaning of Machiavelli’s Masterpiece. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

Recommended Resource: Great Thinkers: Niccolò Machiavelli (