Machiavelli's The Prince: Still Relevant after All These Years

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Machiavelli is “a crystal-clear realist who understands the limits and uses of power.” -- Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jared Diamond (2013)

Written almost 500 years ago, Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince” brings forward a new definition of virtue. Machiavelli’s definition argued against the concept brought forward by the Catholic Church. Machiavelli did not impose any thoughts of his own, rather he wrote from his experience and whatever philosophy that lead to actions which essentially produced effective outcomes in the political scene of Italy and in other countries. While Machiavelli is still criticized for his notions, the truth is that, consciously or subconsciously we are all thinking for our own benefit and going at length to achieve it. On matters of power where there is much to gain and a lot more to lose, the concept of Machiavelli’s virtue of “doing what needs to be done” applies rigorously to our modern politics and thus “The Prince” still serves as a suitable political treatise in the 21st century.

The subject of human nature has great emphasis in “The Prince”. Human beings are viewed as rational decision makers who try to maximize their self-interest. They are inclined to help whoever will give them the most benefits and by definition, may easily betray someone to whom they were previously loyal seeing a better opportunity. A large part of being a prince or a politician is being able to lead people, and therefore it is of utter importance in how to deal with their behavior. “Here a question arises: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse. The answer is, of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will fin...

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... to the times of kings and princess, however it must be noted that the underlying human emotions and their motivations can only be dealt with decisiveness and deep plotting. The concepts discussed are applicable to all leaders and politicians holding offices. Bottom line is, some things never changes. Even though a lot has changed, principles of Machiavelli’s Prince are adapted and used widely yet secretly in a complex world of growth and prosperity with a greater demography and geography.


1) Machiavelli, Niccolò, and Robert Martin Adams. "Chapter 17." The Prince: A Revised Translation, Backgrounds, Interpretations, Marginalia. New York: Norton, 1992. 46. Print.

2) Machiavelli, Niccolò, and Robert Martin Adams. "Chapter 18." The Prince: A Revised Translation, Backgrounds, Interpretations, Marginalia. New York: Norton, 1992. 49. Print.
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