Written by Machiavelli in 1513, The Prince reads like a political how to succeed manual. In this book , he instructs his reading audience on absolute rule over others. Machiavelli dedicates his book to Lorenzo de Midici, leader of the family who overthrew the government he worked for. In the sixteenth century, a prince had absolute power over his state. When Machiavelli wrote The Prince in 1513, therefore, set out to teach potential leaders how to best utilize the power at their disposal.

In the Prince Machiavelli distinhguishes five ways in which men may rise from a private station to rulership of a principality.First, there are those who do so by means of exercise of their own vertue.Among the historical figures he singles out as men who manifested a superior degree of virtue are Moses,Cyrus,Romulus,and Theseus. He sites the career of Francesco Sforza as a contemporary example of the function of virtue in the acquisition and retention of principality. Second, there are those men whose rise to power was due to special favors conferred by fortune. To demonstrate the role that fortune plays in political and military affairs, Machiavelli examines Cesare Borgiaís attempt to make himself duke of Romagna. Third, some become rulers by commiting criminal deeds;he discusses Agathocles of Syracuse as an ancient example and Oliverotto da Fermo as modern one. Fourth, some men come to power by the favor of their fellow citizens and establish what is often translated as a "civil principality". Machiavelli analyzes this type of power in general terms but does make a few brief remarks about the career of Nabis of Sparta as a case in point. Fifth, there are those non-hereditary rulers who gain princedoms by being elevated to a religious office of high rank. Machiavelli classifies such territories as "ecclesiastical principalities" but, with obvious irony, declines to analyze them: as he explains in chapter 11, "since they are set on high and maintained by God, to discuss them would be the act of a man presumptuous and rash".

In order to win honor, Machiavelli suggests that a prince must be readily willing to deceive the citizens. One way is to "...show his esteem for talent actively encouraging the able and honoring those who excel in their professions...so that they can go peaceably about their business." By encouraging citizens to excel at their professions he would also be encouraging them to "...increase the prosperity of their state." These measures would bring the prince honor and trust amongst the citizens, especially those who were in the best positions to oppose him.

Machiavelli postulates that a prince must also deceive those who attempt to flatter him. In choosing wise men for his government allowing those the freedom to speak the truth to him, and then only concerning matters on which he asks their opinion, and nothing else. But he should also question them toughly and listen to what they say; then he should make up his own mind. Since each person will only advise the prince in accord to his own interests,the prince must act on his own accord.

The Prince describes the means by which a leader may gain and maintain the power. Machiavelliís ideal prince is an amoral calculating tyrant capable of unifying his country under the doctrine that "the ends justify the means. "It is pointed out in Chapter 18 that:" A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promises." He continues with:" But it necessary to know how to disguise this nature well and to be a great hypocrite and liar: and men are so simpleminded and so controlled by their present necessities that one who deceives will always find another who will allow himself to be deceived. Machiavelli tells us that leaders will outwardly appear to act in good faith, be charitable and to have humane values but may often times perform just the opposite for the good of the state.

Machiavelli says that rulers should be truthful, keep promises, and the like when doing so will not harm the state, and that they should generally appear to have the traditional virtues. But since the goal of the ruler is to conquer and preserve the state, he should not shrink from wrongdoing when the preservation of the state requires this.

His advice was clear, concise and very