The word “Machiavellian” is named after Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, the Italian philosopher who was friends with Leonardo da Vinci. In 1513, Machiavelli dedicated a leaflet called The Prince to the ruling Medici family of Florence in an effort to gain their favor. It was meant to express the Medici’s goals and argued that to govern effectively a ruler must be cunning and, sometimes, unethical. The Medici’s did not appreciate the leaflet. The adjective “Machiavellian” became a pejorative to describe a politician who manipulates others in an opportunistic and deceptive way.
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