Machiavels Discovrses upon the First Decade of T. Livius translated out of the Italian. [Machiavelli’s Discourses].

Rare first edition in English of Machiavelli's fundamental Discourses

Machiavels Discovrses upon the First Decade of T. Livius translated out of the Italian. [Machiavelli’s Discourses].

MACHIAVELLI, Niccolo. Translated by Edward Dacres.


Item Number: 119908

London: Printed for Thomas Paine for William Hills and Daniel Pakeman, 1636.

Rare first edition in English of Machiavelli’s fundamental work of political history and philosophy. 12mo, bound in full 18th century tree calf with red morocco spine label lettered in gilt. In near fine condition. Very clean internally. Translated by Edward Dacres. Rare and desirable.

"Hitherto political speculation had tended to be a rhetorical exercise based on the implicit assumption of Church or Empire. Machiavelli founded the science of modern politics on the study of mankind—it should be remembered that a parallel work to 'The Prince' was his historical essay on the first ten books of Livy. Politics was a science to be divorced entirely from ethics, and nothing must stand in the way of its machinery" (PMM 63). "Machiavelli is a popular symbol for the… completely unprincipled, and unscrupulous politician whose whole philosophy is that the end justifies the means. The highest law to Machiavelli, it is universally believed, was political expediency… From a comparative reading of [The Discourses and The Prince], one must come to the startling conclusion that Machiavelli was a convinced republican. He had no liking for despotism, and considered a combination of popular and monarchical government best. No ruler was safe without the favor of his people. The most stable states are those ruled by princes checked by constitutional limitations… His ideal government was the old Roman republic, and he constantly harked back to it in the Discourses… It is hardly disputable that no man previous to Karl Marx has had as revolutionary an impact on political thought as Machiavelli" (Downs, 12).

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