Machiavelli was a 13th Century political servant who was home exiled after being accused of plotting against the de' Medici family, while in exile he wrote The Prince a short guidebook presented as a present to Lorenzo de' Medici to try and win his favour. There are absolutely no records that said it was successful, in fact it is quite probable that he never held a political office again. The Prince offers Machiavelli's suggestions on how a prince can aquire and successfully maintain control of the state, it was especially important in Italy at the time since modern-day Italy was a series of smaller warring states who were under constant threat of invasion from France. Machiavelli was considered immoral, scandalous, deceitful, evil...machiavellian. All because he dared to propose religious and classical morals be seperated from that of the state. Realism above idealism, burgoise over feudalism, good versus evil?
Anyway, I have just finished my essay on The Prince, it's not a very well written essay, it could do with a lot of work, to get it up to a standard that I'd be happy with posting it here. I might re-read some of my older essays from the past three years, maybe post a couple, I remember being really proud of some of them.
I would highly recommend The Prince for anyone interested in the emergence of the secular state.