“All the states, all the dominions, under whose authority men have lived in the past
and live now have been and are either republics or principalities.” In Machiavelli’s, The
Prince, timeless keys to a successful principality are examined. The keys are understanding
human nature, respecting that nature, and reaffirming that successful leadership can exist
in the same fashion yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Machiavelli’s perspective of human nature is founded on the principle that people
in general don’t want their culture changed by an outside influence. Machiavelli
demonstrates in the book that the nature of people is to defend who they are. When “the
prince” attempts to change their culture in any way the subjects will do any number of
things to crush this attempt or even change the leadership. If a prince uses force to try to
change people this will lead to hostility, because as Machiavellis says, “they remain,
defeated, in their own homes.” This underlying fact will lead to a rebellion of some sort.
One way this rebellion can happen is when a powerful foreigner invades the principality.
The now “defeated” people will join this powerful foreigner, in hopes that their culture
will now be respected, to dethrone the prince. When the prince tries to use force to
control the people it only creates enemies. Machiavelli explains this aspect of human
nature when he writes, “he harms the whole state by billeting his army in different parts of
the country, everyone suffers from this annoyance, and everybody is turned into an
enemy.” On the contrast if a prince allows the people to keep their customs Machiavelli
states that the people will remain content when he writes, “For the rest, so long as their
old ways of life are undisturbed and there is no divergence in customs, men live quietly.”
Another natural tendency of people comes with freedom. Once they have had a taste of
freedom, they virtually cannot live without it. This feeling of control over one’s life is a
quality that once molded is nearly impossible to reshape. Machiavelli asserts this idea
when he writes, “a city used to freedom can be more easily ruled through its own
citizens...than in any other way.” The same tendency lies in the control that the prince
gains over the people in the principality. Once the prince has control he finds that gi...
... middle of paper ...
...ook” Mao used
positive reenforcement to oil the gears of one of the worlds strongest super powers. Mao
didn’t try to use force and change the culture in China rather he persuaded the people into
having great national pride. This pride enabled Mao to control the people also build a
strong military and defend his land. In China Mao did and still today, decades after his
death, have a hand in every aspect of Chinese life. Both of these leaders project how
timeless Machiavelli’s ideas truly are.
The first rung of the ladder to a successful principality is the understanding of
human nature. A nature that values consistency over forced change and an atmosphere of
control over one’s self instead of someone blatently controlling another. Through this
understanding of human nature can a prince hold his power. Once he holds this power the
best way to keep it is by providing defense for the people whom he has power over.
These ideas were present in the infamous reigns of Hitler and Mao. Machiavelli is correct
there are either principalities or republics, and I have come to the conclusion I prefer the
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- Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, The archetype man for politics in history. He was born on May 1469 and died June 1527. He is an Italian philosopher, thinker and writer. He was considered by many as one of the origin founders of political science in modern age. He was a diplomatic person, besides being a political philosopher, and musician. In Florentine Republic he used to be a civil servant. Then In 1498, he was elected as Secretary to the second Chancery of the Republic of Florence by the Great council.... [tags: the prince]
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