Guicciardini: Dialogue on the Government of Florence

Francesco Guicciardini

This is the first translation into English of Guicciardini's Dialogue on the Government of Florence. Written in the early 1520s by the author of the famous History of Italy, as well as a History of Florence and Political Maxims and Reflections, this dialogue presents what is arguably the most searching and comprehensive analysis of the politics of his times. Like Machiavelli, his contemporary and friend, Guicciardini rejects classical republican arguments in the name of the new political realism and acknowledges the important role of patronage and graft in contemporary politics and the illegitimacy of nearly all forms of political power. In this Dialogue he provides one of the clearest expositions of the term 'reason of state', which he was one of the first to employ and which he uses to justify the priority of state interest over private morality and religion.

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