Prince Essay, Research Paper

Governing countries and states properly has been a difficult task from the

beginning of time. In every country there will be people to who are unhappy and

will disagree with your rule, causing your system to fail. So, century after

century, people have tried new ways to make their politics suffice everyone?s

needs. However, the art of politics is a complicated and challenging issue that

will always be needed to be dealt with. There have been many ways in which

people have preached their ideas on politics, but none were better than those of

Niccolo Machiavelli. Born in 1469, Niccolo was adamant in creating a master plan

for seizing and controlling power. He voiced these themes on what it takes to be

a prince of a state in his magnificent book, The Prince. In his book many themes

were expressed in order to fulfill the role of a prince. These themes ranged

from human nature to military force and most importantly virtue. Machavelli

believed that the state is the highest achievement of man and one should love

the state more than his own soul. Being the perfect prince is clearly a

difficult task, but if done correctly, it can be very rewarding. Machiavelli

also believed that human nature does not change. In general Machiavelli thought

people were ungrateful, selfish, and insincere people, who only care about

themselves. Therefore the government must take account for man?s true nature

and use his qualities for its purposes. Machiavelli also explained that a ruler

who intends to be successful must be prepared to do bad things when necessary.

He must sometimes caress, sometimes hurt, sometimes forgive, and sometimes

punish. This requirement must override all moral judgments, and when making the

decision, the ruler must act without hesitation. Hesitation would project

?false wisdom?. Another, and probably the most important concept of

political success is the idea of virtue. Virtue means strength, intelligence,

and courage, the necessary qualities of any human being. Machiavelli felt that

the quality of virtue was found in some of the world?s most important leaders;

Moses, Cyrus, and Romulus to name a few. Governments ruled by an individual

depends upon this leaders virtue. Without it, the political success will

crumble. Aside from virtue there is fortune or fate as we sometimes put it.

Although Machiavelli feels that the quality of virtue is necessary for a states

success, chance or luck also has an affect. He feels that in life no matter how

much intelligence and strength you have, there is a part of life in which you

have little or no control over. Virtue being a powerful quality, Machiavelli saw

its potential to build a defense against fortune. However, fortune is

inconsistent and variable so, you must treat it like a woman. Machiavelli

states, and I quote, ?fortune is woman, and it is necessary, if you wish to

master her, to conquer her by force?. His point is that when you encounter

fortune, you must approach it aggressively. Machiavelli said that the ruler must

be able to imitate both the lion and the fox. He is saying that the qualities of

a ruler must show the bravery and strength of a lion, but also, the slyness of

the fox. These characteristics are imperative for a new ruler especially. That

way he can get the respect from the people right away. An example of one ruler

who showed both the qualities of a lion and a fox was Septimus Serverus, a Roman

emperor from 193-211 A.D. Another quality of a ruler should be that he is both

loved and feared. In actuality, it is almost impossible to be both those, so it

is better to be feared. Love can lose effectiveness because of human nature.

When something conflicts, love can easily be overcome for one?s own private

interests. And fear on the other hand is maintained by the dread of punishment,

which is always present. Machiavelli made it very clear why it is better to be

feared than loved. Another quality of a prince is that it is better to be

considered merciful than cruel, but mercy must never be misused. Machiavelli

declared that the art of war was the subject of most importance to the ruler. A

prince can be attacked in two ways: internally, by conspiracies, and externally,

by enemies. A prince can defend himself from external attacks by having good

armed forces and good friends. He can defend himself from conspiracies by

avoiding hatred. Machiavelli also stated that no prince should disarm his

subjects or else he will have to resort to mercenary troops. This would mean you

would have to depend on the help of foreign countries. These mercenaries are not

fighting for their country so they don?t care whether they win of lose. They

are in it for the money so they are not reliable. Machiavelli says the only way

to have security is raising troops within the country. They would be loyal

soldiers who would be defending their home and families. He also felt it was

necessary to study history. This way he can focus on successful rulers?

victories and defeats and analyze them for his own well being. Alexander the

Great studied and imitated the rule of Achilles and went on to become one of the

most successful rulers ever. Machiavelli felt that these were necessary means in

becoming a successful ruler. He also felt fortifications had little importance,

stating ?the best fortress is to be found in the love of the people?. In

Niccolo Machiavelli?s The Prince, we have read numerous aspects of becoming an

effective and successful ruler. He focused on all aspects of life and discussed

each in great detail. He studied human nature, fortune, military tactics,

virtue, and personal qualities of past rulers and analyzed why each one?s rule

collapsed. He found out the ruler with both the lion and the fox qualities, he

was able to have a successful rule. Machiavelli was creating some sort of

machine that would be able to conquer fortune, human nature, conspiracies,

battle, and the test of to time to rule a politically unified Italy. The themes

in The Prince have changed views on politics and leadership to this day.

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