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While few details are known about Niccolo Machiavelli's early life and education, we can make some assumptions. As a son in an aristocratic family in Florence in the late 1400's, it is likely that he was familiar with the Greek and Roman classic authors and philosophies. He also was familiar with the power of the Roman Catholic Church and the influence of the Pope in matters secular as well as theological.
The Prince gave voice to Machiavelli's admiration of the highly organized and powerful military and social structures of the ancient Roman Republic. He felt that this type of control had been lost by the Italian city-states, the republics of his day. Machiavelli also argued that the corruption in the Roman Catholic Church was resulting in the loss of religious commitment among the populace. Machiavelli wrote The Prince to explain his reasons for advocating the development of a very strong central government that could reclaim the power and prestige of Italian cities for themselves.
"I believe that the fortune which the Romans had would be enjoyed by all princes who proceeded as the Romans did and who were of the same virtue as they."
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