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On Political Power and Personal Liberty in The Prince and The Discourses
Abstract

Abstract:

While The Prince addresses the single power-seeker who aspires to rule a principality and The Discourses speak to the few deemed worthy of governing a republic, both texts also take into consideration those who want to be free of the harmful effects of the State, regardless of the form it may take. The starting point of this paper, therefore, is Machiavelli's most basic grouping of humanity into those who crave power over others and those who desire not to be oppressed. What do Machiavelli's ideas about state formation, the role of the ruler, conspiracies, war and citizen armies, taxes, fortresses, and property rights have to contribute to the perennial question of political power versus personal liberty?