Machiavelli’s Ideas on Politics

  • E. A. Rees


In this chapter we shall outline some of the principal features of Machiavelli’s conception of politics based primarily on his two main works The Prince and The Discourses. We shall also consider some of his thoughts on revolution as outlined in his Florentine Histories. Machiavelli’s thought has generated an immense amount of controversy. Here, we can only briefly allude to the various strands of thought that have emerged concerning his basic ideas. The interpretation and significance of his ideas has changed significantly from one historical epoch to the next. In the concluding part of the chapter, we shall turn our attention to the influence which Machiavelli had at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, to see how he was interpreted by the French revolutionaries, and the way the ideas of Machiavelli and the ideas of the Jacobins were taken up by leading German intellectuals.


Human Nature French Revolution Civic Virtue Political Thought Extreme Measure 
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© E. A. Rees 2004

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  • E. A. Rees

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