There is plenty to chew on when reading through Machiavelli's "The Prince." Most important to remember, however, is just how much Machiavelli is concerned with efficiency and power rather than any kind of ideas regarding "good government." Everything Machiavelli writes about has to do with HOW to run a government, not whether that government will produce anything morally correct.
Machiavelli was born into a world, especially in Europe, that was dominated by kings and queens who ruled without any consideration for the livelihoods of the people. The middle ages weren't exactly kind to the average person, so in some ways, Machiavelli was very much a product of the era in which he lived. Keep that in mind when judging his ideas, as nasty as those ideas really are.
Consider, as well, how this fits into the overall theme of this unit. Whereas Aristotle, Socrates and Confucius are utterly consumed with the idea of "good government," Machiavelli is the opposite. In a way, they complement one another quite well. This is not to say that these historical philosophers would ever agree with one another, however. I'm sure Confucius would not in any way support Machiavelli's ideas. But the question that really arises here, and the one I'd like you to think about, is to what extent does Machiavelli really compliment the other philosophers studied this unit? Can a ruler attempt to reach a "perfect" and virtuous government without using some ideas Machiavelli supports in order to get to a position of power?
We've seen over the last week in the news that our very own governor has used quite a bit of Machiavellian tactics to get to where he got. What do you think Machiavelli would have to say about governor Blagojedsfsdfhsufhsdfsoi?