I will examine two of Machiavelli’s main texts, Niccolò Machiavelli Discourses on Livy and Machiavelli’s The Prince. Throughout this essay I will examine his many views on the relationship between the state and society, and will provide analysis exploring Machiavelli’s key thoughts and views. Machiavelli has a strong viewpoint on the concept of human nature. … Read more
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, Peter Constantine, Great Britain, Vintage, 96. Machiavelli’s The Prince is a concise treatise initially interpreted as a handbook to leaders about how to maintain or gain power in a region. The 26 Chapter book goes on to discuss: principalities, armies and military leaders, the expected characteristics of a Prince, and the … Read more
The philosophical ideas of both Socrates and Machiavelli share similarities and differences. These men helped expand political idealism through their values and morals. Both political theorists changed the way people think and have had a significant impact on political thought throughout the past few centuries. Socrates and Machiavelli contributed remarkably to political discussions of their … Read more
In his works, The Prince and The Discourses, Machiavelli analyzes the importance of religion to the construction and preservation of political authority. Machiavelli states that religion is crucial to the formation of political authority and that leaders should encourage and endorse religion in order to maintain their power. While examining Machiavelli’s view of religion in … Read more
Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan marks the genesis of the artificial political entity that is the Hobbesian commonwealth, with a social covenant as its efficient cause. Hobbes claims that this all-powerful commonwealth that he baptizes the Leviathan (as an allusion to the biblical beast) is the ultimate escape from a state where people have unlimited rights, but … Read more
In many presidential speeches, propaganda is used to sell or propose ideas to the citizens of their country. In speeches like Hitler’s “War Propaganda,” or speeches by Goering, Machiavelli, and Bernay, many propaganda techniques are used that could be compared to the speeches from a more present time. Franklin D. Roosevelts, “Arsenal of Democracy” is … Read more
When reflecting on premodern political thought and modern political thought, the biggest difference between the two is the idea of who is fit to lead and the concept of idealism versus realism. This is evident in how the philosophers view the rights of the everyday people within society. Overtime the philosophers have leaned farther away … Read more
Niccolo Machiavelli a political philosopher who wrote “The Prince” has a unique relationship with the subject that he wrote about. Machiavelli wrote his book as a manual on leadership and governing during the late Italian Renaissance. The book was also served as a handbook for the rulers. Niccolo says that he was not interested in … Read more
The modern political theorists do not always play by the rules. Today, the democratic credentials of contentious politics are highly indecisive although some political scholars believe that this type of politics tends to have insufficient respect for the democratic decision. Arguably however, the main tasks of any state include provision of security, development of a … Read more
The Prince by Machiavelli and A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de Las Casas are two distinct books that give accounts of nation-building, power, and the molarity or ruling by giving an insight into what motivates one person to dominate or rule another. The text A Short Destruction of The … Read more
In this essay, I shall discuss issues that Machiavelli took with the Church as an institution and it’s political influence in Florence. Many saw Machiavelli’s work to be anti-Christian because he advocated behaviour which directly contravened certain fundamental principles of biblical morality. However, the context in which he was labelled ought to be considered. In … Read more
Considering the political landscape of Italy during the latter part of 1513 where there were intense waves of political unrest it can be argued that Machiavelli’s cynical and some critics argue cold blooded stance on politics are justifiable. (Curry, Zarate, and Appignanesi, 2011) The Prince was written due to Machiavelli’s observation of the previous failed … Read more
The term ‘othering’, for the purposes of this analysis, is used to describe the process in which one group, or at times one individual, is distinguished from another group or individual. By doing so, the emphasis between the two entities is emphasized and enforced. This process is used to primarily assign or draw attention to … Read more
In terms of prescribing rules to preserve the state, Machiavelli’s Prince has principles. It matters that Machiavelli’s Prince has principles because it means that Machiavelli offers a template for other Princes to follow on how they should their rule kingdom. The Prince, written in the mirror for princes style, provides historical examples as templates for … Read more
Niccolo Machiavelli’s, The Prince, is one of the most controversial books of its time. Because of its contents, Machiavelli is seen by many as symbol for evil and vice. The book was thought to be so abhorrent that it was banned by the Catholic church, and harshly critiqued by many of Machiavelli’s contemporaries. The Sixteenth … Read more
The Prince, seemingly a fairytale about a prince finding true love or going to war to protect his loved ones, in reality a guide to ruling as a prince, politically speaking, or some may say, a guide on how not to rule. Niccolo Machiavelli was a man of controversial ideals, especially involving the role of … Read more
Over the last few weeks, our class has focused primarily on two authors and their respective works. Our first paper focused on ethics and politics, but in a general sense. For this paper we have looked at Thomas Hobbes and his work Leviathan, as well as Nicoló Machiavelli and his work The Prince. These works … Read more
Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence, on May 3rd, 1469. Machiavelli was alive during the time of the renaissance, the declared rebirth of learning, literature, art and culture – unfortunately, it was also a time of political instability for Italy. In spite of this, Machiavelli agreed to work for the the Signoria, Florence’s governing body … Read more
Born in Florence, on May 3rd, 1469, Machiavelli was alive during the time of the Renaissance, the declared rebirth of learning, literature, art, and culture. Unfortunately, it was also a time of major political instability for Italy. In spite of this, Machiavelli agreed to work for Florence’s governing body at the time, the Signoria, and … Read more
When looking for control how do you achieve it? When done with that, how do you maintain your power? There are many ways to go about getting power. There are even many more ways to keep your power because of the fact that there are many different things that can go wrong. All of those … Read more
Niccolò Machiavelli beliefs show that being feared means more than being loved in his story The Prince. “From this it follows that all armed prophets have succeeded and all unarmed ones have failed; for in addition to what has already been said, people are by nature changeable”(Machiavelli Chap. 6, pg 27). By being armed, by … Read more
The idea of virtue can best be described as someone who strives to have high moral standards. A person who is virtuous possesses characteristics such as integrity, perseverance, and humility; all qualities that are considered admiral in those who can achieve them. Machiavelli presents a twist on virtue in his work, The Prince, placing before … Read more
The Prince is and was a massively controversial text. In it, Machiavelli divorces the theories of politics from ethics and instead redefines politics based on his own original ideology. His political ideology was one based on reality and focused on achieving and retaining power. Machiavelli well understood both the shortcomings of failed leaders and the … Read more
Back in the 14th and 15th century, the region of modern Italy was in its younger years. Unlike its neighbouring countries, the region had its geographical advantages because it was the trade gateway between the Eastern and Western parts of the world. As a result, the region became the new source of wealth by monopolizing … Read more
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian humanist and writer during The Renaissance time. Born on May the 3rd 1469 in Florence, Machiavelli was also a politician. He had a senior position for several years in the Florentine Republic, as well as being the secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from … Read more
Throughout history, the definition of virtue was undoubtedly linked to Catholicism, providing a clear division between virtues and vices, were doing bad actions was not justified in any case. Nonetheless, Machiavelli using his philosophical skills, took it upon himself to redefine this complex word in his book The Prince, mix the duality of virtue and … Read more
Intertextual perspectives reveal the attitudes, perceptions and point of view of composers which inspire new conceptual understandings. Both, Machiavelli’s The Prince and William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar study the ambition to obtain power and maintain it, intertwined with issues such as morals and ethics. The issue of personal morality underpins the examination both texts provide. The … Read more
There is obvious controversy over whether Niccolo Machiavelli was a credible and reasonable political theorist or a teacher of evil. When observing the writings of Machiavelli in The Prince, it becomes immediately clear that his views on politics and government are fairly straightforward but fail to take into consideration issues of ethics and morality. This … Read more
Machiavelli is widely recognised as one of the greatest political minds in history, having his work ‘The Prince’ still read over 500 years after it was written. However, there remains a considerable debate as to whether he should be characterised as a political theorist or political scientist. In this essay, though contending arguments are both … Read more
Niccolò Machiavelli’s work is seminal in that it is amongst the first few philosophical texts of the 16th century recognizing the politico-theological crisis that characterized the zeitgeist of the time. This crisis had put in question the temporal power of the church and more broadly, the role of religion in politics. Machiavelli saw political reality … Read more
During the Renaissance, there was a strive to modernize the world into human outlook which focused on the ability of humans to act and not blindly follow a religious plan. Humanists believed God had given humanity options and potential, and humanist thinkers had to act to succeed and make the most of this: it was … Read more
Being a prince is something that requires great honor, skill and courage. These are some of the traits, say, a prince or even a King, has to possess. They also have to get their community to trust them, or if not things could get ugly in the town. They have to keep a good perception … Read more
OB MACHIAVILISM: What is Machiavellianism? Machiavellianism also know as Mach , is a personality trait that describes a cutthroat, self-centered, and ends justifying the means type of` behavior or perceptions. Usually, such a negative and self-oriented mindset can lead to very negative outcomes, especially in team-oriented settings. From a human nature perspective, Machiavellian the ability … Read more
02 June 2016 Paper 1- Machiavelli Niccolo Machiavelli was a citizen of Florence, Italy, in the late fourteenth and fifteenth century. In 1513, Lorenzo Medici was to be the new ruler of Florence. Although Machiavelli never directly mentions Medici in The Prince, he does seek help from a friend to see that the Medici family will receive … Read more
The book, The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli, was written in 1513 and published in 1532. The book, Utopia, by Thomas More, was written in 1516. These two books both explain what a society and its ruler should be like, but their ideas on certain things are completely different. Their ideas on human nature and society, … Read more
‘The Prince’, written by Florentine politician and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, is considered to be one of the most influential works on modern political thought. Written during Machiavelli’s period as a literary writer in the 1500s where his political influence was at its highest, ‘The Prince’ continues as a manual for tyrannical leaders around the world. … Read more
There are many individuals who change the world in one way or another, some individuals have the intent to do so and sometimes it is a matter of happenstance. We tend to classify these individuals as leaders in our society. Society needs leadership of some kind to help find purpose and direction. Today we will … Read more
Machiavelli believed that violence was a necessary aspect of state building, this in not only creating a state but also maintaining power and order of the state. By this Machiavelli means that for states to be created it means that much of the time a conflict led to the creation of new states, historically we … Read more
It is impossible to overestimate the importance of Cicero’s writings or his historical significance as an example in politics and in rhetoric for Italian Humanist and Renaissance culture. Machiavelli, well-educated in the classics, drew from Cicero the inspiration for embarking on a project of education of a new ruling class: Machiavelli’s “principe nuovo” is new … Read more
Machiavelli’s political philosophy, as documented in The Prince, is problematic because of its emphasis on the self-interest of political leaders. Leaders should achieve and encourage to serve something larger than themselves, but Machiavelli’s prince seeks only to preserve power for himself. As for the rest of Machiavelli’s existence, many of his works are based on … Read more
Niccolò Machiavelli’s work is seminal in that it is amongst the first few philosophical texts of the 16th century recognizing the politico-theological crisis that characterized the zeitgeist of the time. This crisis had put in question the temporal power of the church and more broadly, the role of religion in politics. Machiavelli saw political … Read more
Paste your essay in here…Niccoló Machiavelli within The Prince presents a grand political theory that paints the political realm as a battlefield where only truly exceptional individuals may survive if they play their cards right. For otherwise, his exceptional princes will perish alongside their states. For it established that power alone is not sufficient … Read more
Paste your essay in here..Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke were great political theorists who explored the relationships between human reason and human passion with context to ethics in politics. They each rationalized human nature and how that nature influences political regimes in their various renowned works of literature: The Prince, Discourses of Livy, The Leviathan, … Read more
Reflection on Machiavelli, Morality, and Virtue In The Prince, Machiavelli departs from the traditional meaning of virtue to one that encompass a broader collection of traits. For Machiavelli, The Prince is only a diversion from traditional morality in that it sets new standards up for being virtuous. He examines virtue in the scope of … Read more
The idea of virtue can best be described as someone who strives to have high moral standards. A person who is virtuous possesses characteristics such as integrity, perseverance, and humility; all qualities that are considered admiral in those who can achieve them. Machiavelli presents a twist on virtue in his work, The Prince, placing … Read more
Politics involves the combination of art and science. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli outlines the various characteristics a sovereign or prince must have or actions he must carry out to earn or maintain power. The book was written while Machiavelli was in exile at the end of the renaissance era. This is significant because … Read more
Allyson Blume Professor Mavrikos-Adamou PSC 125 6 December 2017 The Prince’s Position Niccolo Machiavelli, now remembered as an esteemed scholar and political mind, desired to become a political activist. He yearned for the opportunity to climb the ranks of political office. When writing Machiavelli: The Prince Machiavelli had hoped he would impress The Medici … Read more
Plato, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Sigmund Freud each had their own opinions on how civilization should be advanced. As they each contemplate and analyze the civilizing process, different ways of political changes are encountered. Beginning with Plato, he argued that a society is made up of three parts: working citizens who produce goods, citizens who … Read more
Paste your essay in here…1. The relationship between the Virtu and fate is one of the exciting Philosophical challenges posed by Machiavelli. Even though, Machiavelli did not anticipate to present a very comprehensive philosophy that might elaborate on human action and failure; somehow he was just making observations grounded on his own experience and … Read more
Belmonti 1 Cheyenne Belmonti Jeffrey Jowett CH 202 Section 2883 02 June 2016 Paper 1- Machiavelli Niccolo Machiavelli was a citizen of Florence, Italy, in the late fourteenth and fifteenth century. In 1513, Lorenzo Medici was to be the new ruler of Florence. Although Machiavelli never directly mentions Medici in The Prince, he does … Read more
Throughout hundreds of years, and even in today’s modern government, many question what behaviors are appropriate when it comes to politics. This oftentimes involves questions regarding promises, the truth, and ethics. Machiavelli’s The Prince, aimed to teach different ranks, particularly significant ranking, powerful men, such as Lorenzo de’ Medici, how to carry themselves in … Read more
Today in our interactive oral about The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli my understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the discussion of the qualities of a prince, the concept of Fortuna, a prince’s public image, and existentialism as it applies to Machiavelli. As we discussed the qualities of a prince … Read more
Introduction Niccolò Machiavelli (3 May 1469 ‘ 21 June 1527) was born into this unstable time of shifting fortunes in the year 1469. He served in a number of minor government positions, and was banished or imprisoned at various points of his career. He was responsible official in Florentine Republic with diplomatic and military affairs. … Read more
Machiavelli begins his book by presenting his dedication with a letter to ‘the Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De’ Medici’, the ruler of the Florence. In this dedication, Machiavelli points out that ‘ wanting to present myself to your Magnificence with some testimony of my devotion towards you, the possession of mine that I love best … Read more
About Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, author, philosopher and historian who lived during the Renaissance. Born in 1469, he is well known for his political treatise ‘The Prince’ (Il Principe) which he wrote about 1513 and which was later published in 1532. Machiavelli is often called the father of modern political philosophy and political science.
About ‘The Prince’
In The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli recommends it is necessary that a new prince win the support of the populace. In this overview, I begin by exploring the militaristic benefits a Prince gains when he has the support of the people. I then proceed to demonstrate why the support of the elites offers little protection for the Prince’s power. Additionally, I will investigate how the populace’s support benefits the Prince’s power. A central theme that will be explored here is the strategic imperative a Prince has to win the support of the populace. To conclude, I will argue Machiavelli posits a Prince needs the support of the populace to maintain political power.
A good prince ought to win the support of the populace because he will need to rely on them during times of military conflict. Machiavelli states a ruler “should pay attention to nothing aside for war military institutions and the training of his soldiers” (533). Emphasis should be placed on the words “his soldiers,” Machiavelli means a ruler’s army should be comprised of his citizens. He says mercenary troops only postpone defeat and wish to collect a paycheck (529). In addition, Auxiliary troops are no better because if they lose, the ruler is the one who is defeated, and if they win a ruler is beholden to them (531). Citizens will be willing to defend their Prince as long as he doesn’t oppress them (525). This is a mutually beneficial exchange for both the prince and his people. The prince will have an army that will defend his rule, and the people will have a prince who does not commit wrongdoings against them. Machiavelli stresses that even if a ruler takes power with the support of the “elite and against the wishes of the populace” he “must win the populace over to his side” (525). A state will not be secure if a ruler governs in the interests of the elite because they want “to order about and oppress the populace” (525). It is within the best interest of the ruler he keeps his populace content “for otherwise he has nothing to fall back on in times of adversity” (526). This phenomenon clearly recognizes it is the support of his people that gives a Prince his power. If people view him as illegitimate, he cannot command the military and expect people to participate. Therefore, it is not an aspirational decree when Machiavelli says a ruler ought to win over the populace, it is strategically essential for a ruler to treat his people well so he can be seen as legitimate and have his people follow his directives in times of need.
A prince ought to win the support of his people to portray his strength to potential adversaries. In Chapter 10, Machiavelli explores how a ruler’s strength should be measured, a critical factor to his strength is the support of his people. As we know, the support of his people allows him to raise a dependable army. In addition, given that the Prince has not set out to make enemies, having the support of his people will make potential adversaries reluctant to attack (527). In the event, another state was able to conquer the Prince’s free state it would be difficult to administer. In Chapter 6, Machiavelli explains it is not worth taking control of a formerly free state. The citizen’s memories of their “former freedom give them no rest, no peace” (517). It would be a major security issue for the conquering state to take hold of a group of people that harbors so much animosity. Machiavelli says “the best thing[for the conquering state] to do is to demolish them” (517). Pragmatically speaking if a conqueror destroyed an acquired former free republic, that wasn’t a security threat to begin with, there would not be much benefit left for the conquerors. What will they do with a city in ruins and with no people? Therefore, a ruler’s benevolence will make his people dissatisfied under conqueror. A wise enemy would leave the republic alone because annexation of the republic would never be sound, and obliterating the republic would add little gains. Once again this dynamic proves to be mutually beneficial. The people’s loyalty to the Prince is contingent on his benevolence to his people. This loyalty when observed by potential foreign adversaries dissuades them from attacking the state which protects both the well being of the people and the rule of the Prince.
A ruler should earn the support of the populace because support of the elite offers few benefits. Machiavelli writes in Chapter 19, within a state, a ruler should fear his subjects (540). The statement is reminiscent of Republican ideals, in particular, popular sovereignty. A ruler should fear his subjects because his power derives from them. If he is hated, he is powerless if he is supported he is powerful. The benefits of having their support can prevent conflicts such as conspiracies. Conspirators will not attempt to commit an act against the ruler because they know it will anger the people (540). Nobels cannot offer this protection to a prince simply because they are few of them. If a conspirator were to murder a prince who is supported by nobles, one can predict Machiavelli would say all the conspirator must do is murder the Prince’s allied nobles to remove any threats. In Chapter 9, he cites the example of Nabias, a Spartan ruler, when faced with danger all Nabias had to do “was neutralize a few” (526). Machiavelli notes if Nabias had the “populace opposed to him, this would have been insufficient” (526). In addition, he might cite the overthrowing the Contessa of Forli, whose people joined forces with the invader, as an example of how the people might support the overthrow of a Prince (546). Additionally, the outnumbering of the populace in comparison to the elite corroborates with his assertion in Chapter 18 that “the elite are powerless if the masses have someone to provide them with leadership” (539). In fact, a Prince is essentially powerless if his rule is derived from the elite. In this case, the elite view themselves as “equals” with the Prince, therefore the Prince cannot “order about or manipulate” the elite as he wishes (525). In essence, the Prince becomes a figurehead. One can hypothesize, the expected abuses committed by the elite to the masses will reflect on the Prince and ferment even more animosity between the Prince and the populace. In looking at Machiavelli’s distrust of the elite we see that a Prince aligning himself with the people isn’t a normative mission, but rather the best option a Prince has to maintain his rule. It is true a mutually beneficial relationship is set up between the people and the Prince, but this appears to be strategically necessary rather than a normative goal. I will expound upon this idea later on.
Machiavelli believes a Prince should care about the populace to advance his power. In essence, the support of the populace is a necessary strategic gain for the Prince rather than aspirational or altruistic. In several passages, he describes the nature of man as contemptible. For example in Chapter 18, he says people are simple-minded, their care for immediate concerns will inevitably “let themselves be deceived” (538). He also describes the goodness a prince should possess as disingenuous. A prince “must seem, to those who listen to him and watch him, entirely pious, truthful, reliable, sympathetic and religious” (539). The phrase “must seem” should be underscored, as it explains a Prince’s benevolence to the people is only a mere appearance. He contends there are times where a Prince must do wrong to remain in power. However, a Prince that he should not worry about going against his word because “the common man accepts external appearances and judges by the outcome” (539). Doing what is necessary to maintain power and presenting the image of good might seem contradictory, but Machiavelli attributes the simpleness of common man as a reason for why these goals are not conflicting. For example, in Chapter 19, he says the two things that make a Prince contemptible amongst his subjects are taking their property and their wives (539). As long as the simple needs of the populace are taken care of, a Prince does not have to worry about the in-between wrongs he commits because the people will still be satisfied with their outcomes.
Those who say Machiavelli believed in Republican ideals, I agree because it is clear Machiavelli acknowledges the populace holds power. He displays the populace’s support as essential for maintaining power within a state but also in light of external conflicts. To my mind, however, I believe Machiavelli seeks to strategize how a Prince could take advantage in a Republican society. He realizes Republicanism doesn’t exist in a vacuum; its effectiveness must be considered in light of the nature of man. It is important to underscore the wants of the common man aren’t overly ambitious. In fact, Machiavelli ridicules those who are ambitious, says they threaten the Prince and advise they should be neutralized. If the general populace holds all the power in society, but their wants are unambitious it makes sense to satisfy their simple demands because they will not act on the full potential of their power. This means, the populace could demand more than their basic wants and needs if a plurality became ambitious. A smart Prince will realize the potential of the populace’s power and meet their basic needs to quell them. Something not discussed by Machiavelli is the disparity between the Prince and the common man. How much more could the common man collectively demand from the Prince? Hence, I contend Machiavelli recognized the existence of Republicanism; however, I believe he sought to devise a strategy to maneuver a Republican state so the Prince can be the primary benefactor.
Writing an essay on ‘The Prince’: key topics for discussion
- Machiavelli’s view of power and the role of the Prince: Machiavelli’s view of power, the Prince’s role in attaining and maintaining power, and the use of force to do so.
- The importance of maintaining a political balance: Machiavelli’s view on the importance of finding a balance between being feared and loved, and how to navigate the ethical implications of political decisions.
- The role of religion: Machiavelli’s view of religion and the role it plays in politics.
- The importance of understanding history: Machiavelli’s view on the importance of studying history and learning from past mistakes.
- The impact of Machiavelli’s work: The impact of Machiavelli’s work on philosophy, politics and ethics.
- The relevance of Machiavelli’s works in modern times: The relevance of Machiavelli’s works in today’s society and politics.