Since the 16th century, generations of politicians remain attracted and repelled by its neutral acceptance, and also positive encouragement, of the immorality of powerful men, described especially in The Prince but also in his other works.
During the first generations after Machiavelli, his main influence was in non-Republican governments. Their relative importance is however a subject of on-going discussion.
According to John McCormick, it is still very much debatable whether or not Machiavelli was "an advisor of tyranny or partisan of liberty. These were the English cardinal Reginald Pole and the Portuguese bishop Jeronymo Osorioboth of whom lived for many years in Italy, and the Italian humanist and later bishop, Ambrogio Caterino Politi.
Strauss however sees this also as a sign of major innovation in Machiavelli, because classical materialists did not share the Socratic regard for political life, while Machiavelli clearly did. Famously, Machiavelli argued that virtue and prudence can help a man control more of his future, in the place of allowing fortune to do so.
Leo Strauss declared himself inclined toward the traditional view that Machiavelli was self-consciously a "teacher of evil," since he counsels the princes to avoid the values of justice, mercy, temperance, wisdom, and love of their people in preference to the use of cruelty, violence, fear, and deception.
Some commentators have described him as inconsistent, and perhaps as not even putting a high priority in consistency. Many supporters of capitalism look to it as the only way the interests of citizens can be adequately taken into account, allowing each to accrue unrestricted amounts of private property, while still maintaining a relatively large central government The major difference between Machiavelli and the Socratics, according to Strauss, is Machiavelli's materialism, and therefore his rejection of both a teleological view of nature and of the view that philosophy is higher than politics.
There, I am warmly welcomed, and I feed on the only food I find nourishing and was born to savour.