May 3, 1469 — Niccolò Machiavelli was born in Florence, in the Republic of Florence located in modern-day Italy. He was a politician, a philosopher, a diplomat and an early Italian humanist. He was devoted to the unification of Italy and penned many politically inclined philosophy books that would eventually make him (according to some) the father of modern political science.

Machiavelli most famously wrote “The Prince,” a book that spawned the Machiavellian philosophy that made him famous (or infamous). Machiavellianism is essentially a disregard for morality in order to achieve a goal, summed up in the phrase (which has disputable origins): “The ends justify the means.” There have been other interpretations of his work, but this is by far the most widely accepted version.

Need to win a war? Kill as many civilians until the other side gives in. Use rape as a weapon, poison their food supplies and conduct public executions. Do anything to break their will to fight.

Need to reach a high level of political office? Step on other careers, lie, cheat and blackmail until you make it up there. There are no friendships — only alliances and favors to those who will one day pay it back. Use force to coerce the opponent, seek help from anyone that’s useful.