Machiavelli wrote The Prince for his ruler as a guide for gaining and keeping power. Central
themes of his essay are the relation between politics and ethics, what the best form of government is, the importance
of the Church, and the growth of Italy as a nation-state. The word "Machiavellian" often suggests sinister motives, but
some scholars question this traditional interpretation.
Boetie wrote Discourse on Voluntary Servitude in sixteenth-century France during the birth of the nation-state,
the rise of absolute monarchy, and intense religious and civil wars. He examines the psychology of political obedience,
the structure and specific mechanisms of state authority, the motives of those who obey and those who command, and
the phenomenon of obedience in the absence of force.
"He'd rope the devil and tie him down—if the lasso didn't burn," it was said of "Buffalo Jones," one of the last of the famous plainsmen who trod the trails of the Old West. Killing was repulsive t... View...