Machiavelli’s The Prince



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Machiavelli’s The Prince
Each student must compose in class an independently written, critical essay that evaluates Machiavelli’s classic treatise, The Prince.
Your paper should address the following issues:


  1. Why did Machiavelli write this book?

  2. What two features of princely behavior discussed by Machiavelli are the most important for securing power

  3. What two features of princely behavior discussed by Machiavelli are the most important for maintaining power

  4. Is Machiavelli’s formula for securing and retaining power morally and ethically justifiable?

The essay should include an interest-catching introduction, a body that addresses all of the points or themes specified in the above description; and an effective conclusion that ties together or summarizes all the main points raised in the essay. . . and in an interesting way.


Writing rules to prepare you for the written portion of the AP World History Exam will be applied when grading your paper. Keep the following in mind as you prepare your essay:

  • Do not use first person (e.g., “I think that. . .;” “You should understand. . .; “Our country was successful in. . .;” “We know that. . . ;” etc. Write in 3rd person!

  • Do not use “the indefinite ‘they’”

  • Do not use contractions (e.g., don’t, can’t, etc.)

  • Do not use abbreviations—write out the words you mean in full

  • Do not use slang for colloquialisms—this is a formal research paper and should reflect a serious approach to the subject; not a conversational tone

  • Use spell check to insure the greatest accuracy in both spelling and grammar

  • Avoid repetition of the same points—do not be redundant

  • Use a straightforward, descriptive, narrative style—tell the story

  • Form good transitions between the different ideas in your paragraphs—make it easy for the reader to move from one point to the next


Make this your own, original work—you may allow others to offer critical input (e.g., a parent, another student, or a teacher) but DO NOT take your work off the Internet of from someone else’s paper. Without exceptions, the penalty for plagiarism will be a zero.

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