The Prince is not a pure history book, it is more a guide book to gain and maintain power in politics or statesmanship; however, Machiavelli based his analysis on historical great men and their way of ruling. As I found not every WEM inquires fit the book theme, I would only use some of them (for every stage of reading).
Does Machiavelli state his purpose for writing?
Machiavelli dedicated this book to Lorenzo Di Medici (nephew to Pope Leo X). He analyzed actions of great men regarding politics and statesmanship, with the hope that Lorenzo would profit this ‘how to’ summary to run an ideal state and to rescue Italy.
Who is this story about?
It is mostly about Italian’s statesmen, both who were prosper and ruined; the present ones as well as historical ones. But Machiavelli also mentioned great men from ancient era: Roman, Greek, and even Moses.
The historian’s major assertions
Machiavelli dreamed of having a prudent prince with grandeur, who would be able to free Italy from its current foreign dominion by applying his exhortation.
What is the purpose of history?
I think this book is as philosophical as it is political. Machiavelli had the courage to think outside the box (being under Renaissance influence) regarding qualities of a ruler. To be a good ruler, a prince must maintain his power, and for doing so he must be more feared than loved, and sometimes must be a bit ‘cruel’, when necessary, to create stability. It was contradictory with our moral conscience, but I think we need this guide to not deviate us from the right path to be a good ruler (and in some points, to choose a good ruler).
What relationship does this history has to social problems?
Machiavelli’s ideas are still relevant until now. Although he wrote much on princedom or monarchy, his guidance are very useful for any type of statesmanship, including our modern democracy. Interestingly, Machiavelli also pointed out how citizen or the people usually act towards their rulers. I found it very similar with how we act in this modern era.