The Prince

The only way it was possible to get ahead was to be part of the inner circle.It didn’t really matter what the issue was or what sort of implications it carried.All that mattered was knowing the right person, having the right information, making the right introductions, and going to the right parties.The most valuable information was not necessarily something you knew about an enemy but something you knew about a friend.Staff and “advisors” were, in many ways, far more powerful than the aristocrat holding office. As much as it sounds like it, it was not late 20th century Washington, D.C. but early 16th century Italy.The tell all book is not “Primary Colors,” “And the Horse He Rode In,” or any other modern political tell-all but the most infamous political book of all time, “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527). Machiavelli entered government service as a clerk and rose to prominence when the Florentine Republic was proclaimed in 1498. His duties included missions to the French king (1504, 1510-11), the Holy See (1506), and the German emperor (1507-8). In the course of his diplomatic missions within Italy he became acquainted with many of the Italian rulers and was able to study their political tactics, particularly those of Cesare Borgia, who was at that time engaged in enlarging his holdings in central Italy. From 1503 to 1506 Machiavelli reorganized the military defense of the republic of Florence.
Although mercenary armies were common during this period, he preferred to rely on the conscription of native troops to ensure a permanent and patriotic defense of the commonwealth. In 1512, when the Medici, a Florentine family, regained power in Florence and the republic was dissolved, he was deprived of office and briefly imprisoned for alleged conspiracy against the Medici. After his release he retired to his estate near Florence, where he wrote his most important works. Despite his attempts to gain favor…

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