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Leadership Qualities In Alexander The Great

822 words - 4 pages

Countries rise and fall, but within this chaos is the certainty that new leaders will emerge to fill the shoes of those fallen. What is it that separates the great leaders from the lesser? This question weighed heavy on the minds of many great Renaissance thinkers due to the power that derives from this knowledge. In the 16th century, Niccolò Machiavelli sought out to answer this time worn question. It was in his publication of The Prince, that Machiavelli spread his cold and practical formula of how to rule. In The Prince, Machiavelli clearly states what characteristics great ruler have. These Machiavellian traits show themselves in the life of Alexander the Great and some of the traits ...view middle of the document...

As stated by Machiavelli, “when States are acquired in a country of differing languages, usages, and laws, difficulties multiply”( Machiavelli 3). Whenever change comes to a society, people tend to dislike the enforcer of the change. Alexander the Great encountered this problem in his time as a ruler and understood how to adapt to it and keep the goodwill of the people. According to The Making of the West, “Alexander had a clear strategy for ruling a vast empire: establish colonies . . . but keep each area’s traditional administrative system” (Martin , Rosenwein, and Smith 97). In keeping traditional administrative systems, Alexander kept with this Machiavellian principle and was able to better rule his people while also creating goodwill for himself in the eyes of his subjects.
However, Alexander the Great did not always act to keep the goodwill of the people. Alexander was not above breaking promises in order to better his empire and in this aspect, he shows the Machiavellian attribute (noted in chapter twenty-eight of The Prince) of treachery in leadership. Machiavelli uses the analogy of the lion and the fox to explain his argument. Machiavelli says that a ruler needs to be both cunning like a fox and strong like a lion in order to be an effective ruler (Machiavelli 46). Alexander exhibits both aspects of these animals and shows the fox like trait in his acts of treachery towards the Greek city-states. Many wars created exiles were causing...

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