Niccolo Machiavelli dedicated this book to Lorenzo de Medici, however, he wrote this book for his own personal gain. Over the course of his lifetime he witnessed leaders rise and fall to power. Witnessing the instability in Italy impacted his thoughts on government and politics. Shortly after he stepped into the Florentine government as the chancellor. Later on Machiavelli is accused of conspiracy and put in jail. In effort to regain power, he wrote ?The Prince’ for Lorenzo de Medici, but the book did not sit well with Medici, he viewed the book as evil.
Chapter one in the book sets the tone for what The Prince is about. Machiavelli states that there are two forms of government, Republics and Principalities. What differentiates the two, is that Principalities are hereditary. He subcategorized Principalities into either new or old. Next, he said New Princedoms are either wholly new, as that of Milan to Francesco Sforza; or they are like limbs joined on to the hereditary possessions of the Prince who acquires them, as the Kingdom of Naples to the dominions of the King of Spain. (Machiavelli, 1) What he means by that is that new Principalities are merely just a ruling family taking a territory to start its own domain, or to add on to a pre-existing one.
Chapter two is: Of Hereditary Princedoms. In this portion of the book, Machiavelli discussed how easy or difficult it would be for a Prince to rule a Principality. He had come to the conclusion that it was much easier for a Prince to rule over an old principality as opposed to a new one. The established familiarity the people had with the ruling family and their laws would make the Prince’s transition to power easy as long as he did not depart from the usages of his ancestors (Machiavelli, 1). A key concept in this chapter is that as long as a Prince is not hated by his people, ruling should not be overly difficult, For since a Prince by birth has fewer occasions and less need to give to offence, he ought to be better loved, and will naturally be popular by his subjects unless outrageous vices make him odious (Machiavelli, 2).
Chapter Seven talked about Cesare Borgia, the man Machiavelli looked up to. His father gave him his own land, Romagna. Although he later lost it, Machiavelli was of the opinion that he did every right move. He just had unfortunate circumstances and wasn’t very lucky. After gaining Romagna, Borgia noticed his army was not loyal and that he needed new allies. He orchestrated a party to which he invited his enemies, and had them killed. Cesare Borgia later puts Messer Remiro d’Orco in charge of Romagna. In order to appeal to the people he kills Messer Remiro and puts his body on display, showing that he is both for the people but he is also to be feared of. The only wrong move Cesare Borgia made in Machiavelli’s opinion was allowing Julius II become pope.
Seventeen is Machiavelli’s most notable chapter in the Prince: Of Cruelty and Clemency, And Whether It Is better To Be Loved Or Feared. In this chapter, Machiavelli starts off by saying, I say that every Prince should be desire to be accounted merciful and not cruel.
Nevertheless, he should be on his guard against the abuse of this quality of mercy. Cesare Borgia was reputed cruel, yet his cruelty restored Romagna, united it, and brought it to order and obedience. (Machiavelli, 43). Essentially what he meant is that compassion is for the weak, and that it will inevitably lead to the destruction of a nation. Cruel men like Borgia kept a nation strong and in order. When it comes to whether is it better to be loved or fear, Machiavelli believed being feared was better. And here comes the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or fear rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both: but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. (Machiavelli,43). Which I agree with because fear unites people and is when they look for a leader in unstable times, compassion is for the weak. The most important piece he gives for a Prince is at the very end of this chapter, He must do his utmost to escape hatred. He repeatedly draws a fine line between being feared and hated. Warning other rulers to avoid having their people fall into the latter at almost any cost. Despite how cruel and strict of a ruler a Prince is, as long as he is not hated, he should be fine and maintain a system of power in his kingdom.
Machiavelli is still relevant today because although his book was written in 1513, and is still read today. Also his name has become a term used to describe a certain style of leadership. His philosophy reminds me of today’s President, Donald Trump. Because he is feared by some, hated by some, yet he keeps the people in check. Whether he is or isn’t liked does not matter to him so long as his end goals can be achieved. What I agree most with Machiavelli is that The end justifies the means. Good intentions with bad results are still negative ;bad intentions with good results will still be seen as positive. This is because people cannot view our intentions , only our results. Personally, I liked the book and found the ideology interesting, but it was a long read due to the fact the language and writing are very different from the way we speak and write today. I believe this is partly due to the fact everyday people do not talk about Republics, Princes, etc.
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