The Prince Questions and Answers
by Niccolo Machiavelli

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How does Machiavelli show humanist values and teachings through his works The Prince and Discourses? 

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Humanism is evident in both works and in both senses of the word. As has already been mentioned in a previous contribution, Machiavelli cites a number of examples of classical wisdom—Livy being an obvious example—in order to add authority to his political philosophy. However, Machiavelli's incorporation of classical ideas into his political science is not in any sense abstract; he is using the example of antiquity to show that his realist view of politics is practical and has been applied successfully in the past. The political values of antiquity were universal, but they needed to be applied to a contemporary setting. This is what Machiavelli sets out to do.

This is one sense in which Machiavelli's work can be described as humanist. It is also humanist in that it systematically excludes religion from playing any positive role in the governance of the state. The state must be entirely secular: its functions, its policies, and its whole life must be dictated by worldly concerns. At...

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