Machiavelli’s The Prince

Machiavelli’s The Prince

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Niccolo Machiavelli lived in Florence, Italy in the 1400’s. The country of Italy was divided into city-states that had their own leaders, but all pledged alliance to their king. In time in which great leaders were needed in order to help the development of a city-state and country, Machiavelli had a theory that man needed a leader to control them. In his book The Prince, he speaks of the perfect leader.

I believe that man, by nature, is neither good nor evil. When a child comes out of its mother, one cannot tell whether or not that child will be a serial killer or win the Nobel Peace prize. A child’s environment is what forms it to be the adult that it will be one day. I believe that it also what one believes that makes him or her what that person will be one day. Machiavelli believed however that man was naturally an evil being, one that needed control (Prince).

The idea of man being an evil being, by nature, is expressed in Machiavelli’s book The Prince. He has written that a Prince should break his promises to his subjects because man is evil and will break their promises to their prince (Prince). I do not agree with this theory because I think that man will make his own decision based on whether or not he is good in character. I believe that a leader should tell the truth and win the support of the public by being known as doing this. Machiavelli seems to have the idea of preparing for the worst and thinking in terms of the worst. This is a preventative measure that will benefit anybody who has evil intentions.

Only a person who thinks that man is evil would think of such ways to run a government in the way that Machiavelli thought a government should be operated. Machiavelli felt that “crafty and deceitful princes have historically defeated the faithful princes”(Prince). What happened to the idea of a caring leader, one who could be trusted to make decisions that the majority of the people agreed with? I do not agree with Machiavelli that a leader should be deceitful in order to for his country to succeed or grow. I think that what a leader is depends on what type of man you are good or evil.

The leader that Machiavelli describes as being the ideal one is evil.

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I don’t think that Machiavelli is saying that all leaders are evil, but that all men are evil. Any man that is willing to be a leader will do, as long as they use their wickedness in the sense that Machiavelli describes. Machiavelli believed that any means should be used to gain the ends that the prince wants (Elibrary). His views of what man is are very extreme and hard to digest in this time.

The Machiavellian theory of what man is can be viewed as a being of extreme immorality, one capable of not feeling guilty, and not caring about what it takes to get what it wants. I do not believe that man is this way at all. What man is depends on what environment they are in and how he or she is educated. The theory that Machiavelli has shown me is a great way of controlling bad people, but that would only work in his time. Because we have evolved into a more civilized people nowadays, the theory expressed in the Prince would not work, because the majority of the people living today are not evil and do not need extreme government.

Works Cited

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. England: Penguin Classics, 1981.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. Works of Niccolo Machiavelli: Contrasting Views On Machiavelli., Monarch Notes, 1 January 1963.Electric Library.

Mount, Steve. U.S. Constitution Outline. 15 February 2001. http://www.usconstitution.net

Wilson, Q. James and John J. DiIulio, Jr. American Government: Institutions and Policies. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.

 

 
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