Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince Summary





Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince Summary


Niccolo Machiavelli details the political theories and philosophical approaches towards ethics and governance. He describes the kind of different states and accentuates that they are either principalities or republics. He then delivers the methods of governance and their maintenance. He states that maintaining new principalities is always harder than that of hereditary kind. In both systems of governing principalities, there is a prince and appointed ministers as well as nobles. With the change of laws, new principalities as stated by Machiavelli require different persuasion and maintenance tactics. The summary also counters on the evils associated with acquisition of new principalities as well as the measurement of respective strengths. A keen delivery centers on the military aspect of governance.

            Machiavelli centers on the concerns of ways in which princes are censured or praised in equal measure together with liberality and parsimony. He articulates on the advantages and disadvantages of either being loved or feared as a ruler. He attacks the virtues proposed on the ethical basis of classical philosophers. In addition, he argues that princes should keep their word while avoiding contempt and hatred. He analyses the usefulness of expedients that princes keep while looking at the need fro esteem in their actions. Finally, he looks at Italy princes’ loss of states and makes a plea towards its redemption.  


“And I’m sure we’d all agree that it would be an excellent thing if a ruler were to have all the good qualities mentioned above and none of the bad; but since it’s in the nature of life that you can’t have or practice all those qualities all of the time, a ruler must take care to avoid the disgrace that goes with the kind of failings that could lose him his position.” “What’s more, you can’t in good faith give the nobles what they want without doing harm to others; but you can with the people. Because the people’s aspirations are more honorable than those of the nobles: the nobles want to oppress the people, while the people want to be free from oppression.”

            In the first quote, Machiavelli states that as humans, we can get behind a ruler with good qualities. However, he states that the negatives have to be there since we are all normal persons. It is significant in leadership that rulers have to accept the challenges that come with characters and virtues. However, the people must be ready to face the consequences once they turn from the positives to negatives. Of importance to the leaders is the need to keep a watchful eye from falling into disgrace when the people evaluate the negative qualities. In addition, it helps the people be on the watchful side of their leaders at all times.   

            In the second quote, Machiavelli puts the people ahead of the nobles, as they are the power-givers. He says that the satisfaction of the people is more important as compared to the oppression of the nobles. It is significant to leaders, as they should focus on making the people satisfied and in support of their tenures. It is honorable in the eyes of the people as compared to the nobles, since leadership is only permanent. The nobles are only interested in their selfish demands while oppressing the people. It is the duty of the leader to keep control of the nobles.   

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