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Primary Principles of Political Views of Machiavelli’s “the Prince”

  • Date Submitted: 10/30/2012 08:35 PM
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Primary principles of political views of Machiavelli’s “The Prince”

Niccolo Machiavelli was one of the first, who considered politics from a scientific point of view, using his experience and practical knowledge of the entire history of the state (Strauss, 44). The objects of study of this work are the political views such as cruelty and mercy, and generosity and frugality, of Machiavelli, in terms of medieval ethics, morality, law and values, and from the side of the modern observer. This essay will proof that the Machiavelli’s ideas in “The Prince” cannot be used by modern democratic countries. However, these principles could be applied by totalitarian states.
Considering the qualities that the emperor should have, Machiavelli, for the first time in modern history, spoke about the economy of the state as part of its welfare. Firstly, he gives reason to define generosity as disadvantage for being powerful: “Generosity is used in such a manner as to give you a reputation for it will harm you; because if it is employed virtuously and as one should employ it, it will not be recognized and you will not avoid the reproach of its opposite” (Machiavelli, 43). Further, Machiavelli offers “conducting an aggressive war” way to achieve and maintain power, which would be an addition to saving budget of the sovereign, and suggests spending other people's money. Moreover, he uses historical examples to give strength for his arguments: “Pope Julius II, although he made use of his reputation for generosity in order to gain the papacy, then decided not to maintain it in order to be able to wage war; the present King of France has waged many wars without imposing extra taxes on his subjects, only because his habitual parsimony has provided for the additional expenditures;” (Machiavelli, 44). Although, in the beginning Machiavelli says that “it would be good to be considered generous” (Machiavelli, 43), he defenses his arguments against with the words: “in order not to have to...


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