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The Prince | Study Guide

Niccolò Machiavelli

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Chapter 26

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 26 of Niccolò Machiavelli's philosophical text The Prince.

The Prince | Chapter 26 : Exhortation to Liberate Italy from the Barbarians | Summary



Machiavelli directly addresses Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici, advising him to seriously consider all of the arguments he has made. He says that if Lorenzo observes all the advice given in The Prince, he will successfully remove the foreign influences from Italy and make it a strong and self-sufficient state.


Machiavelli provides a point of discussion for the differing interpretations of his intent. The wording of the section sounds a great deal like flattery directed at Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici. Some have argued that Machiavelli was purposefully giving advice that would lead to the ruin of the people who overthrew the republic in which Machiavelli grew up—the same people who tortured him on suspicion of being their enemy. However, Machiavelli may have simply been following his own advice to deal with things as they actually are, rather than how they should be. That is, even if he believed principalities are an inferior form of government and that a prince's behavior is morally blameworthy, he could still agree that there is a best way to govern principalities, one that requires an amoral attitude.

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