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Book Report On The Prince By Niccolo Machiavelli

1164 words - 5 pages

The Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli, is one of the first examinations of politics and science from a purely scientific and rational perspective. Machiavelli theorizes that the state is only created if the people cooperate and work to maintain it. The state is also one of man?s greatest endeavors, and the state takes precedence over everything else. The state should be one?s primary focus, and maintaining the sovereignty of the state one?s most vital concern. The state is founded on the power of its military. Therefore, a strong military is vital to maintaining the state. Machiavelli believes that men respect power, but they will take advantage of kindness. He believes that when given the opportunity one must destroy completely, because if one does not he will certainly be destroyed. The prince should lead the military, and he has to be intelligent. An effective politician can make quick and intelligent choices about the problems that constantly arise before him. He must also have virtue, which means he is strong, confident, talented, as well as smart. A prince cannot be uncertain, because uncertainty is a sign of weakness.Fortune controls half of human?s actions, and man?s will controls the other half. Virtue is the best defense for fortune, and virtue must be used in order to keep fortune in check. The prince must take advantage of situations based solely on if it is best for the state. He should choose his decisions based on contemporary and historical examples. A prince cannot consider whether his acts are moral or immoral, and he instead must act in an unbiased manner for the state. Also, it does not matter how the state achieves its goals, as long as these goals are achieved. Finally, regardless of the personal morality involved, the prince should be praised if he does good for the state and berated if he hurts the state. Machiavelli?s principles have widespread influence, and they are quite similar to some of Thomas Hobbes ideas in Leviathan.Machiavelli has a very low opinion of the people throughout history. In general, he feels that men are "ungrateful, fickle, liars, and deceivers." "They shun danger and are greedy for profit; while you treat them well, they are yours. They would shed their blood for you ? but when you are in danger they turn against you." Machiavelli basically has little respect for the people, and he feels as though they have not earned much either. He uses this as justification for the use of fear in order to control people. He also feels that men are "wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need not keep your word to them." This sense of fairness justifies breaking one?s word to men. Machiavelli also writes about how hard it must be for a prince to stay virtuous. He concludes that with so many wretched men around virtue is hard to create in oneself. "The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous." Overall,...

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