A Summary of The Prince: By Niccolo Machiavelli
John R. Posey
Hall, Page 1
Nicolo Machiavelli is one of the great political thinkers of the Middle Ages and is still widely
read today. He created a system of political thought that based on the principle of detaching
religion from the public affairs of the state—“The Separation of Church and State.” Until
Machiavelli, the role of the Church and State was not separate. Political theory linked poltical
law with a higher moral law.
Machiavelli was born at Florence on 3rd May 1469. He was the second son of Bernardo di
Nicolo Machiavelli, a lawyer and Bartolommea di Stefano Nelli, his wife. Both of his parents
were members of the old Florentine nobility.
Machiavelli’s life falls naturally into three periods which reflected the intense poltical conflict
between the city-states of Florence, Milan, Venice and Naples. Each of these powers pursued a
strategy of playing one off against the other. Each of these conflicts influenced his attitude
During his childhood, Florence was as an Italian power under the guidance of Lorenzo de'
Medici, Il Magnifico (1492-1519). The downfall of the Medici in Florence occurred in 1494, the
year Machiavelli entered the public service. During his official career Florence was free under
the government of a Republic. This period lasted until 1512, when the Medici returned to power,
and Machiavelli lost his office. The Medici again ruled Florence from 1512 until 1527, when
they lost power. This was the period of Machiavelli's literary activity and increasing influence;
but he died, within a few weeks of the expulsion of the Medici in1527.
The “Prince” is written with keen observations by Machiavelli on the nature of men in their
quest for power. He argues men are still the dupes of their simplicity and greed, as they were in
the days of...