Who Is Machiavelli's The Prince?

Improved Essays
The culmination of Renaissance thought and culture is evident in the writings of the Italian Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527 CE). In this mini-lecture and module we will look at his life and his writings, especially in his political manual, The Prince.

Machiavelli, born in Florence in 1469, was involved with Florentine politics, serving as an ambassador and secretary of the republic. He was not in favor with the Medici family, and when they returned to rule Florence in 1512, Machiavelli was forced to live in exile. A short time later, in 1513, he wrote his most famous work, The Prince. The manuscript was circulated during his lifetime, but unfortunately, it wasn 't published until five years after Machiavelli 's death.

Prior to The Prince,
…show more content…
For the first time, he advocated that leaders must do what is necessary in order to be successful and continue to rule, regardless of "moral virtue." He points out the fact that the public is fickle; however, a leader must submit to the demands of the public in order to keep his position and rule effectively. As Wilcox writes, "But unlike his (Machiavelli) humanist predecessors he felt that the truth was best found in particular perspectives, that its expression varied with time and historical circumstance, and that no systematic and abstract statement of reality could be complete and meaningful." (p. 162) Machiavelli, as demonstrated by Wilcox, feels that truth is subjective. There is not one way to rule; there are not universals such as truth, morality, and virtue, as Christian and Medieval thinkers had …show more content…
People themselves decided who would be in power, and who would not. The values of the crowd shifted quickly, and it was a ruler 's responsibility to make sure that he used his knowledge and experience to do whatever was necessary to remain in power. Therefore, one might have to NOT be good and virtuous to continue leading effectively. He writes, "A prince, first of all, should have no other object or thought in mind than war and how to wage it. He must not take up anything else to be skillful in, for war is the only art essential to those who govern." (Thompson, p. 279). In order to wage war effectively, a leader must be able to be a strategist, to anticipate his enemy 's move. (Just like in a game of chess!) In order to do so, one must be able to think like his enemy, which requires the ability to think on more than one level. Doing what is "right" is not always possible, says Machiavelli, when one is a

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Because he believes man becomes disloyal to the state when times are tough, and the ultimate purpose of the Prince is to maintain order within the state, Machiavelli argues a ruler should be feared. If the prince is loved and circumstances warrant, people are more prone to take advantage of the benevolence of their ruler. Ruling with an iron fist, Machiavelli believes, would ensure obedience from the ruled. Moreover, he does also warn of the dangers of using fear in a negative manner. Never in The Prince does Machiavelli advocate using cruelty for no explicit reason, but instead urges rulers to use it in the interests of the state.…

    • 1099 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    They must learn to cultivate other methods of influencing order to secure the resources from other departments to achieve project success. Almost all resources should be negotiated or bargained.PM does not have enough authority to reward or punish any employee. So He must learn some human skills like negotiating and bargaining.Sucessfull project manager knows the importance of maintaining strong political ties all the way to make his project successful. The main point is that project management and politics are linked with each other.Sucessfull project managers are those who understands that their job goes beyond something like being only technical aspect. Typical PM should learn to use political influence as power to make project successful.…

    • 1320 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    God will not do everything himself” . Machiavelli believes that the ruler must take things into his hands and not depend on God to help him rule. The ruler has to work and be worthy of the…

    • 880 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    However, Thureau understands that he can only do as far as his role, and that he cannot force this knowledge onto to others without their willingness to be aware. He acknowledges that the minority choose to be naive because knowing is a painful task, and that not everyone is ready to take such a burden. All he can do is silently declare war against the government and hope for a better…

    • 722 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “The realist view argues that leaders cannot afford ethics in a world of serious responsibilities, powerful institutions, and committed adversaries.” (Dobel) They hold a view that there is no time for pleasantries. If there is fear, then all that needs to be accomplished will be achieved. He will try to appear true, but never truly be what he appears. “How praiseworthy it is for a prince to keep his word and to live by integrity and not by deceit everyone knows.” (Ma pg. 43) He’ll keep his word as long as it helps him, but once he wants something else he will then use fear to accomplish the…

    • 1040 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    First and foremost, he must be wise; seek advice when needed, but always with a grain of salt. He shall avoid hatred and contempt since this could damage his respect and cause his people to revolt against him. He must be brave and strong, as this is a must for any man in general to succeed and be great. He should, if possible, be both loved and feared; if not loved, then feared. He must understand and know the art of war like the palm of his hand.…

    • 1000 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    That is why it is necessary to have a commonwealth, or sovereign authority to force people to uphold the contract. By operating through fear and threat of punishment, it mandates the people to adhere to the social contract. Without it, the desires and passions of men in the natural condition will lead them to obtain such passions through violence. The “actions that proceed from those passions” will only continue unless “they know a law that forbids them” (77). They will continue to do as they please because they do not have consequences to impede their actions.…

    • 1634 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A leader should put thought into how consequences might ensue due to violence, but also needs to take into consideration what means are necessary to fulfill the needs of the country. Machiavelli also addresses the fact that a leader should be strong toward his subjects and free of compassion or mercy. Ultimately, leaders should strive to put themselves before anything else. Despite the fact that this outlook seems harsh, it is important to remember that Machiavelli wanted the prince to thrive in his position and avoid failure at all costs. Consequently, the fate and well-being of the people are of unimportance compared to that of the ruler’s…

    • 735 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He believed it essential to base his political philosophy on this conviction . By depicting the state of nature in a descriptive, rather than normative way, Hobbes shows that there is nothing unusual about the passions that drive man towards war against man. This happens because man seeks self-preservation, which requires attaining resources. However, “everyone is governed by his own reason and there is nothing he can make use of that may not be a help unto him in preserving his life against his enemies ”, proves this to be problematic since without a common power, man is then his own lawmaker and judge. This entails inevitable conflict when resources become scarce, shown on p. 82, rejecting Aristotle’s idea of man as a social animal, men caring more about conquest than community, according to Hobbes.…

    • 1217 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Then, to maintain in power, the support of the people are needed. To protect the state, the ruler must have its own army to rely upon. And an army needs a good ruler to lead them, a leader should have the skills so that the army is well used. Like a sword, to skillful warrior it can be utilized. The weapon should be well take care of, a rusty sword is not effective.…

    • 1888 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays