Here is a very important topic in political thought and ideology and that is Machiavelli & his well-known book The Prince.
- So, who exactly was Machiavelli?
- What was important about his political views
Original Title is: De Principatibus / Il Principe
Here is the little background on him. In the 15th century, Italy in the city of Florence, there was diplomat called Niccolò Machiavelli. He had risen to power from a lower-class family with his intelligence and hard work. He worked here at Palazzo Vecchio but this was during the time, the ruling family – the Medici were thrown out of power. Soon after there was lots of turmoil in Florence. Medici family returned to the power and this proved to be very very bad thing for Machiavelli. He was removed from power and wrongly thrown into jail. And he was released one year later and exile never to return to Florence says he couldn’t take part in any political activity anymore.
He starts to write the book which was meant as gift for the Medici ruler of the Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent. Later, this book was known as The Prince and has remained a very influential and also controversial work in political thought. It basically deals with the concepts of the qualities of the good leader and how he can use force to bring power for himself. Also, it talks very controversial about the balance between brutality and kindness that should exist in good leader.
Another very important concept is here, how The Prince should behave with his people. So, let’s stop, so let’s talk about qualities of the good politician who exactly is a good politician. Someone who’s cunning and someone who’s cruel or someone who is always honest and hind to Machiavelli. The former property is metaphor and why is that simply because of the later more efficiency. A politician should not only be willing to use force whenever it is necessary in order to sustain his power. At the same moment, he should also be capable of keeping a good face in front of people. Even, if his activities aren’t particularly likable hypocritical, yes but it’s also very efficient.
So, this brings us to a concept of virtue. You might think it’s like virtue but actually, it’s quite different. What do literally means masculinity in Latin for Machiavelli. It is related to qualities like skills, good leadership valor, & most importantly martial spirit like we discussed before a good ruler shouldn’t be afraid to use coercion. Machiavelli also believed that instead of only hurting his enemies, he should be able to completely eradicate them. Because if you hurt someone a little they can rise for revenge but if you destroy them they dealt with forever along with this. He should also have capability to keep people in his indulgence to sustain his legitimacy and power.
A Good example of the good politician for Machiavelli is Cesare Borgia. He was the Duke of the Valentinois who’s fighting for power. It was the major influence on the writing of The Prince. He came to power because of his father. The “Pope Alexander” VI, but for Machiavelli what was important, how he was able enough to control it. He renounced the Cardinal and went to become the Duke. What he did next was, eliminating all his rivals and gaining control of new principality Romagna by sending in one of his most royal men. He used too much force and brought Romani under control but there were lots of bloodsheds as well.
Now it was a good thing for Borgia, but there was one problem the people were actually not happy. So, what he did next was he killed his own man, cut his body in half and displayed it in the middle of the town. Not only to dispute people but made them fear Borgia. Since there was already too much bloodshed, Borgia went on to build parks and fountains and whatnot and to bring prosperity to the people and soon became very popular. All of these characteristics were highly admired by Machiavelli. Now justice Borgia is the good leader.
Machiavelli also talks about a bad leader that is Girolamo Savonarola. He was friar at the church claimed to be the prophet when France was attacked by Italy. People thought that his prophecies are gonna become true and soon he gained much popularity and a large following. He was able to lead the revolution against Medici family and to throw them out of power and empower himself. But what he did wrong was that he didn’t Radhika’s opulence and built himself a proper foundation. This soon led to his incarceration by the Pope & later his execution. So, what we gather from all of this pseudo? Prince always is cruel and just kill everybody around him is that it.
Well, Machiavelli tells us that there must be the balance among being efficient and also being enduring to the people if he can’t get this balance right.
Now, we know who Machiavelli is, & what his political views aren’t but why is it important in all of this. Especially given a fact that our world has shifted from monarchy to democracies and people now. Well, people like politicians, businessmen & other influential figures still use dishonesty, corruption, and force to gain power so does the common man. They just care about the ends instead of the mean whether this is wrong or right is not up to us to decide. But we can assuredly say that to understand this behavior of people and the struggle for power, The Prince serves as an excellent example.
Now it about ending of discussion and I hope that you were able to take something home from it in end.
Download Links to The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
The Prince is basically written in Italian by Niccolò Machiavelli. Download Links of this Non-Fiction novel are given below in PDF, Kindle, and Epub formats.