Machiavelli Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

With this lesson plan and materials from, you'll have everything you need to help your students better understand the mind and politics of Niccolo Machiavelli.

Lesson Objectives

  • describe the writings of Niccolo Machiavelli
  • analyze the role his works played in Renaissance Italy and beyond


  • 30-40 minutes for instruction
  • 40 minutes for the activity

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

Key Terms

  • Niccolo Machiavelli
  • The Prince
  • The Art of War
  • Discourses on Livy


  • Ask students if they have ever heard the phrase, 'The end always justifies the means.' Discuss and write key ideas on the board.
  • Read the lesson Niccolo Machiavelli: Philosophy, Politics, & Books, then discuss the following questions:
    • How might Machiavelli's life have influenced his desire to become known as an expert on politics?
    • The Prince was written for the same family that had punished Machiavelli. Do you think he was trying to get back into their good graces or do you think this is bad advice designed to make the people hate him?
    • Why do you think that Machiavelli thought that the military was so important from a political perspective?
    • Based on his works, what do you think Machiavelli's opinion was on ancient Rome? Why?

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