Was "The Prince" Revolutionary? Essay

1311 words - 5 pages

There have been many works written throughout the years that been known as a revolutionary, but one of the most popular ones would be The Prince by Niccolo` Machiavelli. Although some may say that Machiavelli simply wrote down the "obvious" about the rules of being a good ruler, up until this time, no one had taken the initiative to write some of these controversial thoughts. Thoughts such as lying, cheating and stealing would be worth it in order to maintain power, and the ends justify the means. Throughout this book, Machiavelli states how things are in politics, and how they should be, hence making it revolutionary. This book of political thought lays out the foundation of what a ruler would need to do in order to come to power, keep power, and keep the ruled people satisfied with them. Machiavelli starts his book by defining that there are two different types of states, a principality or a republic. Since he has already defined the ideas behind a republic, he dwells on the idea of a principality. When telling of principalities, Machiavelli states that it is easier for a hereditary prince to keep the favor of the people then it is for a new one to gain it. The reason for this is that the hereditary prince is not required to rule much differently then the previous ruler, while a new ruler much change drastically, or they shall be overthrown as well. This would go along with the idea that people are not partial to change, if they don't have to. This idea is one that had never been brought up before, and many people realized that this was in fact truth. Continuing his idea of how to keep authority, Machiavelli goes on to describe how to keep a mixed principality in order. This thought up until now was just to rule with an iron fist over your conquered territories, and throw down any revolt. But Machiavelli says that "men are very ready to change their ruler when they believe that they can better their condition and this belief leads them to take up arms against him" (7), which seems to be a pretty obvious fact of life. He then goes on to say that this in fact is not how it works exactly, but most of the time it becomes worse, and the people end up being more displeased. By expecting more from this new ruler, the newly annexed people can turn on the new ruler for the slightest mistake. This creates more tension for every party involved. Machiavelli then goes on to say that the best way for a new ruler to keep his/her newly annexed territory in order, that he/she should live there for some time, and properly shut down all the revolts that may come. This idea was unheard of at the time of this publication, because up until now no ruler would put their own life in jeopardy to keep the people in order; most would just send more troops in. Machiavelli says that by sending in more troops, it would only cause more hostility. By bringing in an example of King Louis XII, and how he made many mistakes when trying to take over Italy. By saying...

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