Separating Political Conduct and Personal Morality in Niccolò Machiavelli's, The Prince

Separating Political Conduct and Personal Morality in Niccolò Machiavelli's, The Prince

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Separating Political Conduct and Personal Morality in Niccolò Machiavelli's, The Prince


Niccolò Machiavelli wrote, in his novel The Prince, that strong central political leadership was more important than anything else, including religion and moral behavior. Machiavelli, writing during a period of dramatic change known as the Italian Renaissance, displayed attitudes towards many issues, mostly political, which supported his belief that strong government was the most important element in society. These attitudes and ideas were very appropriate for the time because they stressed strong, centralized power, the only kind of leadership that seemed to be working throughout Europe, and which was the element Italy was lacking. Machiavelli understood that obtaining such a government could not be done without separating political conduct and personal morality, and suggested that the separation be made. The Prince, written to the Medici family over five hundred years ago contained many truths, so universal and accurate that they still influence politics today.

To understand the writings of Niccolò Machiavelli, it is necessary to understand the world of Niccolò Machiavelli, Renaissance Italy. The region was not one nation as it is today, rather a collection of several city-states, which contained internal fighting between powerful families, fighting with each other. This era differed from the preceding middle ages in many respects, the pope's power was weakened, money controlled power instead of noble birth, and there was a revival of ancient Greek and Roman literature, architecture and art by a new breed of people, the humanists. These changes created the environment in which Machiavelli lived. He saw how the quarrelling was weakeni...


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...he ideas in contained proved themselves to be very useful in the government of people.

Niccolò Machiavelli was born into a world of drastic change, Renaissance Italy, that would cause his mind to conjure ideas about many political issues transferred into books that the entire world has profited from since. His ideas were incredibly relevant to his time, because they suggested harsh governments, the only kind of governments that seemed to be working. He proposed creating these harsh governments through a separation of personal morality and political behavior. His ideas were so relevant and so universal, that they still influence politics today. Niccolò Machiavelli proposed the creating of strong central government more powerful than anything else, including religion and morality.

Works Cited

Machiavelli, Niccoló. The Prince. New York: Penguin Classics, 1999.

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