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Can The Prince Be Applied To The Politics Of Modern Society?

2774 words - 11 pages

Niccoló Machiavelli wrote The Prince in order to set forth certain guidelines the ruler of a state must follow in order to rule successfully. During Machiavelli’s time the world was filled with monarchies and other forms of government that act differently from the common democracy that is in the world today. Could a political book written in the 16th century still have value in today’s politics? In order to answer this question, this paper will take an in depth look at Barrack Obama, to determine whether he is following the guidelines Machiavelli has created. I argue that the majority of the guidelines are still followed today, thus The Prince sets forth ideas that still hold value in today’s political society.

Niccolò di Bernadrdo de’ Machiavelli was a resident of Florence, Italy, andwas unable to participate in government due to the lack of his father’s wealth (Rebhorn, Introduction, pg.15). Little is known about Machiavelli’s youth; records of him don’t start showing up again until 1498 when he was reinstalled in the newly elected city government, which had just overthrown the Medici family. There he worked in numerous government positions until 1512 when Spain invaded Italy and the Medici family reclaimed power. They imprisoned him and he was eventually exiled outside of Florence. This is where he wrote The Prince, as a guide for Italy and Florence to have a balance of power and control. His writings are based on the current political atmosphere of his time and historical examples from other states, in order to create a certain guideline to monarchs on how they should rule (Rebhorn, Introduction, pg. 15).

First Machiavelli gives the guidelines for how a new principality should be created from an existing one. In the current case, this would be former President Bush being replaced by President Obama. Machiavelli states that the new prince should destroy the old prince’s family. This is because the old family members will want to gain power back and the citizens may want to see the old prince’s family placed back into power. The elimination of threats towards the new prince is what Machiavelli is trying to eliminate by destroying the previous family (Machiavelli, chapter 3, pg.11).

When the new ruler takes power uprisings may happen, but if he puts them down quickly, no more uprisings should challenge his opposition out of fear of being oppressed. Neighboring states should also be dominated in order for the prince to show his power and keep the neighboring states from attacking. These problems may make or break a ruler when he first takes power (Machiavelli, chapter 3, pg. 11).
Obama treated most of the problems that Machiavelli stated, with some problems not addressed how Machiavelli would, due to the different time periods. An example of this is that, Obama did not destroy the Bush family when they left the White House and Obama took power. Today this would be seen as inhumane and would not be good for Obama’s image in the eyes...

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