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The Prince

The Prince

The Princeresearch paper due and don't know how to start it? How about like this?

In The Prince, Machiavelli (1469-1527) states very clearly "a prince should therefore have no other aim or thoughtbut war and its organization and discipline, for that is the only art that is necessary to one who commands".The Prince is primarily about the qualities of the man himself, whoever he may be, who is the leader/decision-maker/ruler who guides the state in its efforts to preserve itself. To accomplish this, the prince will develop and cultivate personal qualities and characteristics that he does not already have in order to become the quintessential leader of a state.

Machiavelli's Advice for the Prince

Machiavelli's advice for the prince(s) is multifaceted but the undercurrent remains stable: to do what is expedient for the state even if it requires resorting to evil practices, cruelty, and deceit. Machiavelli has no compunctions about recommending that the new prince destroy the old prince and his entire family in order to eliminate the possibility of insurrection from the old regime. Even though Machiavelli urges violence when necessary, he also tempers his advice to include prudence on the part of the prince so that the injuries inflicted can raise no possibility of vengeance.

The Prince must be well-versed in the following:

  1. Know how to maintain his own circle of friends, but not rely on them for decision-making; he gathers information but makes the decisions himself.
  2. He must be independently strong, even maintaining his physical strength and prowess and his skills at hunting.
  3. The prince will understand the psychology of people. For example, he will prepare them for adversity by making sure that provisions are in store for them and maintaining adequate defense for the people.
  4. By providing good laws and good arms for his people, the prince will foster loyalty in his and longevity for his state.

There is a strong sense of timelessness within Machiavelli's The Prince. The novel, which spoke against the failings of government can be placed against nearly any modern nation who has experienced hardships. Machiavelli intended to illustrate the failings of leadership, and the compounding of the consequences of those failings. Within the twentieth century, many men would follow the writing of Machiavelli - though not necessarily on purpose - and rise to great power.

Machiavelli exemplified state power in his book The Prince. Also, the idea of state power can sometimes have a counter-intuitive effect on ordinary morality, and such moral issues are dissected through Machiavelli's writings. The theory of the state will be highlighted and how it breaks with classical political thought or how it coincides with classical political thought will be emphasized.

Machiavelli's suggestion that the end justifies the means is an invitation to use betrayal, murder, and deceit when necessary to gain political power, and it is in this context that ordinary morality gives way to political power. He also believed that mob rule is not an acceptable way to achieve power because the people are fickle and change allegiance easily. In his view of government the most powerful and dependable types of military forces are the national armies. In the construct of a government Machiavelli states in The Prince that it is better for a prince to be feared than loved, because fear depends on oneself, while being loved depends on one's subjects, and thus the combination of political power and ordinary morality converge. It is with state power that a prince should be concerned with because when placing complete trust in the people, conflicts abound. The prince then, in Machiavelli's imagery of the fox and the lion should be both strong and cunning, and the best way a prince can gain respect and admiration is to win impressive military victories, and so morality must give way so that was may be accomplished and thus the power of the prince secured.

The four types of principalities discussed in The Prince include hereditary, mixed, new and ecclesiastical. In these principalities Machiavelli's objective is to describe the nature of power. His concept of power, his political hero and role model then is Cesare Borgia. With this role model it is no wonder that Machiavelli's principal blame for Italy's political weakness is placed on incompetent Italian princes and their advisors.

Within the last century, Adolf Hitler became a contemporary example of Machiavellian ideals. For Hitler, there was a setting in post-World War I Germany which could not have been better fitted for the rise of a dictatorship. While the successes of the Wiemar Republic in the mid-1920s staved off the early pushes of Hitler and his National Socialists, the economic collapse of 1929 and 30 would renew his fervor. His book, Mein Kampf, took new life in the 1930s. Though virtually ignored when it was first published, the second economic collapse within a decade had many Germans scrambling for some sort of hope - even if it meant strict new leadership.

Hitler likened the cause of Germany's woes to decades of lax rule, as well as various other social ills; such as prostitution, the decline of marriage, and the power of the Jewish race. Anti-Semitism in Europe, and especially Germany was not new - however it was at a new level during the rise of Hitler's NAZI movement. Part of Hitler's plan to assume control of the German government was based on the ability to rally the German people to a singular ideal - and Anti-Semitism was an easy choice. By decrying the Allied Powers, the war-time German leaders, and the Jewish presence in German government and economy, Hitler was able to bring many thousands of people under his ideology.

Throughout the twentieth century there have been a multitude of powerful dictators who have risen to the heights of power using tactics influenced by or similar to those described in The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. The violence and warfare of the century was the prime state of affairs for these individuals to take over their respective nations in powerful and terrifying regimes.

Though it is not certain which of these leaders intentionally used the teachings of Machiavelli as guidelines for their ascents to power, what is known is that the ideals that were outlined within Machiavelli's works stand as sound and useful advice for the would-be oppressive dictator. His in-depth detail of the necessities of power stand as true today as they did five-hundred years ago.

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