4. Niccolo Machiavelli gave his name to the practice of evil
The word Machiavellian refers to the use of devious means of accomplishing a goal, often applied to business maneuvers or political scheming. It also means to accomplish a goal with evil intent, through scheming, lying, and deceptive practices. It arose from the book The Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli in the early 16th century. The book did not appear in print until several years after its author’s death, though a manuscript version circulated for several years beginning in or about 1513. Machiavelli observed the practices described in the book throughout his own political career. They led him to the belief that moral behavior and politics are mutually exclusive; his work justified amoral behavior in politics as acceptable if it led to social stability and a secure state. It became a seminal work in the area of what is now known as political science.
Some scholars believe Machiavelli described the corruption of Italian politics of his day. Other scholars have declared The Prince as an instruction manual for despots and tyrants. Machiavelli’s other major work on politics, Discourses on Livy, discusses in detail the advantages of a republican form of government. The Founders of the United States, including Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Wythe, and Hamilton, cited Machiavelli’s work in their arguments over the Constitutional powers of the office of the President. His work continues to inform political scientists today, though he is remembered mostly for The Prince and its textbook explanations of deception and moral turpitude of those in power. Machiavellian leads to an unfair judgement of Machiavelli, a philosopher and republican.