Machiavelli's "The Prince". Essay

2835 words - 11 pages

Part AThe Italian Renaissance (14th,15th,16th centuries) was a new prosperous period of time during which a new way of life emerged. People became concerned with education, and historians studied ancient Greek and Roman literature. One of the most famous historians and authors of the Renaissance was Niccolo Machiavelli. He wrote The Prince, which was a guideline on the way a ruler should gain power, and how he should stay in power. In this book he focused on different ideas including the way to become a ruler, maintenance of power and ethics and morality.Machiavelli states that there are three possible ways to gain power if the area you are taking over lived under a different law before. The first way would be to take over the area by ruining it, this would be the best way to secure power because by ruining it people can not revolt against you. If you do not ruin it, people will always revolt against you, even if your leadership benefited them. The second way is for the conqueror to occupy the area, this would make it hard for the population to rebel against you. The third way would be to establish a small government in the occupied area, which would pay taxes and such to the conqueror in return for protection. The best way if possible would be third, because it requires the least of work since all you have to do is murder the royal family, since people by nature are followers, they will now follow you. By taxing them for protection the conquered people will know that with out your friendship and support they can not exist. This will make the citizens support you which is a very important factor to maintaining your power. Machiavelli uses the Greeks and Romans to support these thesis's. He explains how the Spartans held Athens and Thebes, establishing a small government there, which they did not intend to tax, and wanted to keep it free, they eventually lost the cities. The Romans however, held Capua, Carthage, and Numantia by ruining them, and they did not lose them.Machiavelli believes the best way to gain power is by yourself, with the least of help from others. This method is one of the hardest to achieve, however a ruler who has gained power through his own ability will turn out to be more successful because the state will then be easier to maintain. The hardest thing to do is to establish new rules and laws, however a ruler relying on himself will be able to face these challenges much easier then anyone who gained power by inheritance, luck and such. A ruler relying on his own prowess should set his goals very high, that way if he does not reach those goals he will still be able to reach the goals he intended to accomplish in the first place. Machiavelli uses Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, and Theseus as examples of such great rulers. He explains how these peoples misfortunes led to there success, and that they relied on themselves, and by doing that they eventually gained power and recognition. He explains how it was necessary for Moses to find...

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