Machiavelli's Paradox: Trapping or Teaching the Prince

John Langton, Mary G. Dietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In The Discourses Machiavelli extolled the virtues of republican government, yet in The Prince he advised the ruler on how to perpetuate autocratic rule. What accounts for this paradox? Mary Dietz argues that Machiavelli sought to deceive the prince, trapping him into actions that would destroy his rule. John Langton contends, in contrast, that Machiavelli was seeking to teach the prince how to govern so that the autocratic state could evolve into a republic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1277-1288
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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