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An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (International Pocket Library) (International Pocket Library) Paperback – November 4, 2008
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by Cesare Beccaria
Two men, living hundreds of years apart, in many ways, wrote with parallel opinions and conclusions. Most well known is Machiavelli's The Prince; however, in many ways, the greater impact came from lesser known Cesare Beccaria, with An Essay on Crimes and Punishments--the latter being the basis upon which much of governments and laws have been established.
Both men emphasized that the virtue of man should be the basis of our interpersonal actions. Yet they also conceded that man's seemingly instinctual appetite for power prevents that base virtue from ruling our decisions. Given the continued use of military might of one country against another, it is abundantly clear that what Machiavelli wrote in the 15th century and Beccaria wrote in the 18th continues to hold true today.
The Prince was written based upon Machiavelli's observations and analysis of what was happening in his country. His books resulted in his recognition as the founder of political science inasmuch as he was the first to analyze various forms of government.
Many of us may also observe, perhaps evaluate and analyze, and come to the conclusion that somebody has to do something. Machiavelli, in writing The Prince did just that. He wrote and sent his treatise directly to Lorenzo De Medici, Duke of Urbino...as a token of his service. Throughout The Prince Machiavelli constantly refers to the virtues needed to be an effective leader, an effective prince. At the same time, he looks at what actually happened, using events of those days, and effectively explained what was done right or wrong.Read more ›
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Beccaria offers great insights into what has become modern thinking about crime and its prevention. It can be a little dense for such a small book.Published on January 3, 2007 by M. Kerr