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An Enemy of the People? Niccolò Machiavelli in Context

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0758
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Portrait of Machiavelli by Santi di Tito

Florentine statesman Niccolò Machiavelli’s treatise The Prince, written in 1513, was not long, but its perceived message has lost little potency 500 years later. After all, it advised leaders that the iron fist is far more effective in governing than the velvet glove—that is, fear trumps human kindness.  

However, asserts Ross King, author of Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power, Machiavelli’s writings are far more sophisticated than even the most Machiavellian passages of The Prince would seem to suggest. King places Machiavelli in the context of his times and examines his more positive legacy and influence. Far from being an enemy of the human race—as an English cardinal described him—Machiavelli was a perceptive writer whose lessons on leadership, liberty, virtue, and good government are worth re-examining today.

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