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Machiavelli's Paradox: Trapping or Teaching the Prince

John Langton and Mary G. Deitz
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 81, No. 4 (Dec., 1987), pp. 1277-1288
DOI: 10.2307/1962589
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1962589
Page Count: 12
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Machiavelli's Paradox: Trapping or Teaching the Prince
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Abstract

In The Discourses Machiavelli extolled the virtues of republican government, yet in The Prince he advised the ruler on how to perpetuate autocratic rule. What accounts for this paradox? Mary Dietz argues that Machiavelli sought to deceive the prince, trapping him into actions that would destroy his rule. John Langton contends, in contrast, that Machiavelli was seeking to teach the prince how to govern so that the autocratic state could evolve into a republic.

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