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Machiavelli, Niccolò (1469–1527)

Niccolò Machiavelli, quite possibly the single most influential political writer of all time, was born in Florence, Italy. In 1518, he published his literary masterpiece, The Prince, and has been associated with authoritarianism and government's cynical manipulation of its citizens ever since. This was, and is, unfair to Machiavelli, since his later writings (Discourses on Livy) pointed to a much more democratic and fairminded individual. Regardless of his true feelings, his influence created two new words for the international lexicon: Machiavellian and Machiavellianism.

Machiavelli started his career in the Florentine government as a secretary, though his innate ability soon allowed him the opportunity to become involved with diplomacy. Although he met many important personages, none influenced him more than Cesare Borgia, a prince of the papal ...

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