Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Machiavellian Enterprise: A Commentary on The Prince

by Leo Paul de Alvarez

Northern Illinois University Press

144, January

Hardcover, 32.00

ISBN: 0875802478

Scholars have long maintained that Machiavelli’s The Prince does not develop a single sustained argument but rather presents a set of disparate reflections. De Alvarez takes a different view. In The Machiavellian Enterprise, he demonstrates that there is an internal consistency in The Prince built upon a key argument that has been previously overlooked within Machiavelli’s masterpiece.

De Alvarez probes beneath the surface of The Prince to find much more than advice on the education of a savior for Italy. He credits Machiavelli with proposing a new vision of political order, “an entirely new way of life for human beings, a new understanding of God and Man, and of nature and political power” associated with modernity. As the “first political philosopher to turn to the many instead of the few as the basis of rule,” claims de Alvarez, Machiavelli sought to replace the domination of the Christian Rome with a civil, secular, and egalitarian state.

Adopting the deceptively naïve stance of a “first reading” allows de Alvarez to present his bold and sophisticated argument in a way accessible to scholars, students, and casual readers alike. The Machiavellian Enterprise will incite much debate and discussion and will reshape our view of the western tradition’s most original political philosopher.

    Table of Contents



    The Epistle Dedicatory

    Part One: Of Principates

  1. How Many Kinds of Principates There Are and by What Modes They Are Acquired
  2. Of Hereditary Principates
  3. Of Mixed Principates
  4. Why the Kingdom of Darius Which Alexander Had Seized Did Not Rebel against His Successors after the Death of Alexander
  5. In What Mode Cities of Principates Must Be Administered Which before They Were Seized Used to Live by Their Own Laws
  6. Oh New Principates Which by One’s Arms and Virtue are Acquired
  7. Of New Principates Which by the Arms of Others and Fortune Are Acquired
  8. Of Those Who through Wickednesses Attain to the Principate
  9. Of the Civil Principate
  10. In What Mode the Strengths of All Principates Ought to Be Weighed
  11. Of Ecclesiastical Principlates

    Part Two: Of Arms

  12. How Many Kinds of Militia There are and about Mercenary Soldiers
  13. Of Soldiers: Auxiliaries, Mixed and One’s Own
  14. What a Prince Should Do about the Militia

    Part Three: Of The Qualities Of The Prince

  15. Of Those Things for Which Men, and Especially Princes, Are Praised of Blamed
  16. Of Liberality and Parsimony
  17. Of Cruelty and Pity: And If It Is Better to Be Loved Than Feared, or the Contrary
  18. In What Mode Princes Ought to Keep Faith
  19. Of Avoiding Contempt and Hatred

    Part Four: Of The Prudence Of The Prince

  20. If Fortresses and Many Other Things Which Everyday Are Employed by Princes Are Useful or Useless
  21. What a Prince Should Do That He May Be Esteemed
  22. Of Those Whom Princes Have as Secretaries
  23. In What Mode Flatterers Are to Be Avoided
  24. Why the Princes of Italy Have Lost Their Kingdom
  25. How Much Fortune Is Able to Do in Humans Things and in What Mode One May Oppose Her
  26. Exhortation to Lay Hold of Italy and Vindicate Her Liberty from the Barbarians

    Conclusion: On the Order of the Argument in The Prince

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