The Prince in Machiavelli
Considered the father of modern political theory, was both despised and admired for proposing the use of every means in establishing and maintaining a state(Kreis, 2000). His famousity centered in his book, The Prince, which tellls of a leader’s capacity to acquire, maintain, and enlarge authorities through strength of character, and of course, tenacity.
Machiavelli is born in the independent state of Florence, amidst the bloody state wars of Italy. He grew up dedicating his whole life in politics and the unification of Italy by the Florentines. On this purpose, due to his inactivity within the political arena due to the changes in leadership, he worked on political papers and methods which would help in the establishment of a united Italy.
Throughout his life and death he was attributed with political corruption and totalitarianism brought about by the publication of The Prince (Fry). The book is dedicated to the ruling family of Medici in Florence who are later dethroned by the reestablishment of the republic. He was then appointed to government positions but the cruelty seen in him by the public caused his downfall and later his death in 1527.
Yet, in his desire to serve the state of Florence, he was given projects and assigned with positions within state relations. He was commissioned by Cardinal Guilio de Medici to compose the History of Florence and was assigned to missions in France and Germany which he somehow despised(Life of Niccolo Machiavelli).
Machiavelli became popular within the political arena due to his treatise on The Prince. This book explains methodologies and suggests “appropriate” measures necessary in statesmanship. But as said earlier, The Prince attributed to Machiavelli an image of cruelty due to its cetral theme of utilizing all means, including cruelty, in the preservation and establishment of a state(Kreis).
The treatise explains mostly in its 26 chapters the means of acquisition and characteristics of principalities, governing methods of such principalities based on how they are acquired, differences between kinds of army, and the qualities a leader must possess.
Given in the book his ideas on cruelty and clemency; love and fear; praise and blame; and liberality and meanness, where in its chapters he agreed in the timely use of each to fulfill the goals of statesmanship, Machiavelli acquired a life long misinterpretations of his work. This however is contradicted by scholars who have read his other literature, Discourses on Titus Livius, which presented his entire system of politics which founds itself on the common good and despises the modern Machiavellian tradition (Fry). This literature explains his approval on the use of democratic republics instead of despotic regimes.
However, the continued use of modern Machiavellianism, that of which conjures cruelty, instills the image of totalitarianism on Machiavelli. Given much consideration on the purpose of writing The Prince and his whole life spent for the glory of Italy, we may really find a much desired leader who seeks only the good of the people and of united states.
Fry, David K. “Machiavelli was not Machiavellian.” Accessed 6 April 2008. ;http://www.italian-american.com/machi2.htm;
Kreis, Steven. 2000. “Nicollo Machiavelli, 1469-1527”. Lecture on Modern European Intellectual History. Accessed 6 April 2008. ;http://www.historyguide.org/
Nederman, Carly. 2005. “Niccolo Machiavelli.” 13 Sep, 2005. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosphy. Accessed 6 April 2008. ;http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/machiavelli/;
Niccolo Machiavelli. “The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings of Niccolo Machiavelli.” Tr. from the Italian, by Christian E. Detmold (Boston, J. R. Osgood and company, 1882). Vol. 1. History of Florence. Chapter: LIFE of NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI. Accessed 6 April 2008. ;http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/774/75805 on 2008-04-06;