Posted March 29th, 2020
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Author’s Note, October 12, 2020 – I made minor changes to punctuation and phrasing for clarity. The content of the essay remains unchanged and still reflects the date on which it was first posted (March 29, 2020). Also of note, the original version displayed 1531 as the year of the headline quote from Niccolo Machiavelli’s Discourses: 1531 was the year that the book was first published, which was a few years after Machiavelli’s death. 1517 is the year that Machiavelli most likely actually wrote the Discourses, and therefore that date seemed more appropriate to me to display here.