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Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince, originally titled De Principatibus (About Principalities), in 1513, detailing how a prince could gain and sustain ruling power. It is both a philosophical study in autocracy and a guide in the pursuit of power, especially implying that the ends justify the means in maintaining a stable state for the governed. Both praised for its shrewdness and reviled for its legendary ruthlessness, The Prince is a milestone in philosophical thought and essential reading.