If The Prince resembles a guidebook based primarily on empirical observations, Machiavelli wrote the Discourses as a commentary on Livy's work on Roman history. However, both books include empirical observations and historical generalizations. Machiavelli himself does not make a sharp distinction between the two methods of inquiry, as he thinks that all ages are fundamentally similar. He thinks we can use both methods to teach ourselves the unchanging laws of the political universe. When we have understood these laws, we can use our understanding in political life to achieve our goals. The book is strictly speaking three books in one. In Book I Machiavelli focuses on the internal structure of the republic. Book II is about matters of warfare. Book III is perhaps most similar to the teachings of The Prince, as it concerns individual leadership. The three books combined provide guidance to those trying to establish or reform a republic. - Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. BOOK I PREFACE I. Of the Beginnings of Cities in general, and in particular of that of Rome. II. Of the various kinds of Government; and to which of them the Roman Commonwealth belonged III. Of the Accidents which led in Rome to the creation of Tribunes of the People; whereby the Republic was made more perfect IV. That the Dissensions between the Senate and Commons of Rome, made Rome free and powerful V. Whether the Guardianship of public Freedom is safer in the hands of the Commons or of the Nobles; and whether those who seek to acquire Power or they who seek to maintain it are the greater cause of Commotions. VI. Whether it was possible in Rome to contrive such a Government as would have composed the Differences between the Commons and the Senate. VII. That to preserve Liberty in a State there must exist the Right to accuse. VIII. That Calumny is as hurtful in a Commonwealth as the power to accuse is useful. IX. That to give new Institutions to a Commonwealth, or to reconstruct old Institutions on an entirely new basis, must be the work of one Man X. That in proportion as the Founder of a Kingdom or Commonwealth merits Praise, he who founds a Tyranny deserves Blame. XI. Of the Religion of the Romans. ...
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December 15, 2009
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