Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/254

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

temper of political thought, and found an echo in the minds of many generations. When The Discourses were known only to political theorists, when The Florentine Histories were read only by students, and The Art of War had become extinct, The Prince still continued to find a ready welcome from men immersed in the practical business of government. Later thinkers carried on the lines of reasoning suggested by Machiavelli, and reached conclusions from which he refrained. At last it became clear, that the problems associated with Machiavelli's name were in fact primitive problems, arising inexorably from the conditions of all human societies. They form part of larger questions, in which they become insensibly merged. When the exact place of Machiavelli in history has been defined, the issues which he raised will still subsist. The difficulties can only ultimately disappear, when the progress of thought has determined in some final and conclusive form the necessary relations of all men to one another and to God.