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[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]
A commentary on Titus Livius's (Livy's) work on Roman History, "The Discourses on Livy" is Niccolo Machiavelli's examination of the structure and benefit of the republic. Considered the most important work on the subject of republicanism in the early modern era, "The Discourses on Livy" are comprised of three books. In the first book Machiavelli discusses the internal structure of a republic. In the second book he discusses matters of warfare and in the third his attention is turned to matters of individual leadership. An important work of political history and philosophy, "The Discourses on Livy" are a must read for any student of political science.
Uniting thirty years of authoritative scholarship by a master of textual detail,Machiavelli's Virtue is a comprehensive statement on the founder of modern politics. Harvey Mansfield reveals the role of sects in Machiavelli's politics, his advice on how to rule indirectly, and the ultimately partisan character of his project, and shows him to be the founder of such modern and diverse institutions as the impersonal state and the energetic executive. Accessible and elegant, this groundbreaking interpretation explains the puzzles and reveals the ambition of Machiavelli's thought. "The book brings together essays that have mapped [Mansfield's] paths of reflection over the past thirty years. . . . The ground, one would think, is ancient and familiar, but Mansfield manages to draw out some understandings, or recognitions, jarringly new. "--Hadley Arkes,New Criterion"Mansfield's book more than rewards the close reading it demands. "--Colin Walters,Washington Times"[A] masterly new book on the Renaissance courtier, statesman and political philosopher. . . . Mansfield seeks to rescue Machiavelli from liberalism's anodyne rehabilitation. "--Roger Kimball,The Wall Street Journal
This book invites-no, demands-a response from its readers. It is impossible not to be drawn in to the provocative (often contentious) discussion that Harvey Mansfield sets before us. This is the first comprehensive study of manliness, a quality both bad and good, mostly male, often intolerant, irrational, and ambitious. Our "gender-neutral society" does not like it but cannot get rid of it. Drawing from science, literature, and philosophy, Mansfield examines the layers of manliness, from vulgar aggression, to assertive manliness, to manliness as virtue, and to philosophical manliness. He shows that manliness seeks and welcomes drama, prefers times of war, conflict, and risk, and brings change or restores order at crucial moments. Manly men in their assertiveness raise issues, bring them to the fore, and make them public and political-as for example, the manliness of the women's movement. After a wide-ranging tour from stereotypes to Hemingway and Achilles, to Nietzsche, to feminism, and to Plato, the author returns to today's problem of "unemployed manliness. " Formulating a reasoned defense of a quality hardly obedient to reason, he urges men, and especially women, to understand and accept manliness, and to give it honest and honorable employment.
Politics according to Machiavelli is not limited by things above it, and things normally taken to be outside politics-- the "givens" in any political situation-- turn out to be much more under the control of politics than politicians, peoples, and philosophers have assumed.
Behind the daily headlines on presidential races and local elections is the theory of the polity--or what the end of our politics should be. Harvard's Harvey C. Mansfield, one of America's leading political theorists, explains why our quest for the good life must address the type of government we seek to uphold. He directs our gaze to the thinkers and philosophies and classic works that have proved most influential throughout the ages.
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